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USEK - Kaslik, Lebanon
Student Housing
SE.Arch_Verba5, April 21, 2008
Kaslik_Lebanon_2007_USEK_Student Housing
Kaslik_Lebanon_2007_USEK_Student Housing
 
Design principles - Exterior
 
Isolated, the building directly conveys its message and converses with the scenery, offering selective views on its environment. The edifice, that cannot be broken through in view of its introspective character, acoustically and visually protects the internal spaces against the unpredictable aggressions coming from outside.
 
Through bits and pieces, this project gathers numerous architectural themes of USEK campus which style of the 1950s has been diluted by successive additions. Despite a contemporary aesthetics and a spirit of independence, this building is well-rooted in its environment, and reflects its relationship with the functional architecture of the overall campus. Its implantation on a tight plot of land undoubtedly enhances its visual presence and grants it an amplified scale. Loaded with vigour, its colourful presence adds beauty to the street, perfectly merging with its site. Audaciously provocative, this project perfectly and smoothly fits into its environment, it, adding to the distinctiveness of the place and to the urban context at the same time.

However, the edifice maintains a formal autonomy and originality within the context. With an effect of contrasts, the structure astutely responds to the challenges of scale, context and function, coupling monumentality and refined details, mass and lightness, compactness and openings.
 
Borrowing some patterns, from the campus existing architecture manifests a nautical metaphor. The aesthetic envelop stemming from that of the boats refers to the yachts and sails of the nearby marina. An urban arch with a serene and dynamic look, the building undeniably expresses generosity towards the campus and drags the city toward the sea far away.
 
The USEK Student Housing, a singular portal that carries its inhabitants into another world free of daily worries, illustrates a gateway to freedom, a true dreamlike journey …


Kaslik_Lebanon_2007_USEK_Student Housing
Kaslik_Lebanon_2007_USEK_Student Housing
 
Elevations - Treatment & Materials
 
This student residence is a compact block, exposing sober facades to the city. Within this building of an expressive composite language, raw concrete and yellow stones perfectly match, alternate, and strike a perfect balance.
 


Kaslik_Lebanon_2007_USEK_Student Housing
Kaslik_Lebanon_2007_USEK_Student Housing
 
The northern and southern elevations of the edifice constitute imposing blocks of raw concrete, ornamented with mere joints and holes only.
                
The Southern façade, punctuated by rows of large “boxes-windows”, ordered according to a rigorous modular grid layout, is covered with a light metallic structure conceived as a vegetal support. The treatment in relief of the Southern façade, coupled with a horizontal range of stretched cables, generates an animated and complex effect of light and shade, with a sharp graphic character graphic character. The northern and southern elevations to become walls of ivy covered with green and plants are erected like counterpoints to the eastern and Western facades, which are totally mineral.


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