Situated on Beirut's seafront and main public thoroughfare, the new 204,000 sq.ft. facility houses competitive and recreational athletic facilities for swimming, basketball, handball, volleyball, squash, exercise and weight training. The space also includes an auditorium with associated meeting rooms, cafeteria with study space, and underground parking for 200 cars.
Responding to the scale of the campus's existing buildings and outdoor spaces, the team challenged the University's original plan for a single large-scale building and similarly scaled open plaza. Instead, they proposed multiple building volumes connecting a continuous field of habitable space with gardens on multiple levels. These building volumes are further organized around a network of radial "streets," oriented toward the sea and woven together by a series of courtyards, circulation paths, and spectator areas, negotiating the elevation change from the upper campus to the seafront. To preserve the significant existing landscape, buildings were sited to maintain existing trees. The design for the new Hostler Center synthesizes architecture and landscape to create a set of richly varied and environmentally diverse spaces where people may gather throughout the day and into the evening.
Notes of Interest:
The design for the project developed as a response to its unique social and environmental context. Sited on the public Corniche, the new Hostler Center integrates social gathering spaces for students and faculty with sports facilities, a theater, and underground parking. Challenging the idea of a single large-scale building and similarly scaled open plaza, the project instead proposes multiple building volumes interconnected into a continuous field of habitable space by its gardens and green roofs.
This project uses elements in a thoughtful way to create a rich urban place. Smart use of its surfaces and resources and in keeping with the local conditions. The outdoor spaces are more comfortable because every piece of the building is leveraged to its best advantage. This could have been a monolithic program but instead the architects created an enlivened urban quarters connecting the campus to the water.
Institute Honor Awards for Architecture 2009
COTE Top Ten Green Projects 2009