On All Nighters and Architecture 1


The last 4 or 5 or even 6 ,7 days I can’t remember,I started the usual all nighter series before the due date to my project.it was one hell of a week.i usually split my laptop screen to two parts,autocad or 3Dmax on one side,and youtube or a series or a movie on the other side.it’s a bit distracting right?Wrong.while CADing ,I flipped through youtube ted talks about inspiration and how to get ideas-it’s good to listen to talks and podcasts about creativity while you’re trying to be somehow creative-and I stumbled across a talk about a man who made a paper origami microscope for African countries so they could test water,and it only costs 50 cent,wich is pretty amazing,I quicly started to watch the next video on the playlist,the first 20 hours to learn anything,and it was also amazing,but not like the last one,so I switched moods,I played oum koultoum for a while,3 or 4 hours,two songs.

Then it was time to watch a long documentary,time was passing and it was nearly 5 am,I started of course with “no direction home”a Martin Scorsese documentary about Bob Dylan,and followed it with one album of bobs bootleg series then two fast paced Jacques Brel and Radiohead songs so I could avoid sleepiness,I felt like I’m in a danny boyle movie,and then I thought,hey,danny boyle!

I watched “shallow grave”,”trainspotting” and “127 hours”,it was now 4 pm and I was ahead of schedule in my project,so I closed the laptop and slept for 5 hours.

Woke up 9pm,played my harmonica for a good 30 minutes,had some dinner and I was good to go.i was too mixed up to focus on anything so I played pink floyds atom heart mother and abd l halim’s kareat al funjan and I was in the mood for something new to watch.i watched ken burns’ documentary about frank Lloyd wright,the great American architect and the antonionis “zabriskie point” and a documentary about the universe narrated by morgan freeman.

drank tea,2 cups.
Showered for a long long 20 minutes.
Felt very tired,but I knew I could still manage to stay awake for a couple movies.
I watched 2 ted talks about fasting,blew my mind.
Im currently thinking seriously about intermittent fasting for it has infinite benefits for the body and the mind,as I checked after watching these videos.

Played the beatles for almost 2 hours wich pumped me up and kicked me down.
Beatles always bring memories.

As to bob Dylan,I played visions of johanna,wich is kind of my tp soundtrack always,I used to play it in my early Dylan days 5 or 6 times a hour,and it’s a 7 minute song…
After Dylan,I had to listen to some old old blues,1920s ones.
It was a good start to my day,or night.i lost track.
I began to jump from 1 artist to another.

From bob Dylan to
Eric Clapton covering Dylan to
Claptons influence, muddy waters
To lead belly
To jhonny cash
To june carter,a female,wich made me remember joan baez,dylan’s girlfriend,I was in a infinite circle of different types of music and cultures.Baez made me remember Dusty springfield,who covered Jacques Brels “ne me quitte pas” to “if you go away”.

I love Jacques brel.
Watched 3 documentaries about him in a row.

‘ Il y en a qui ont le coeur si vaste qu’ils sont toujours en voyage.’ Jacques brel

To be continued.

By Omar Layza


Oscar Niemeyer, Entre Organique et Formaliste

Généralement, Une architecture est dite organique quand elle fait intégrer le bâtiment dans la nature d’une part et dans son site d’autre part, et transforme le bâtiment en un organisme vivant qui complète le site.
De nos jours, La définition d’une architecture organique est mise en question; Cette architecture se manifeste-elle par une intégration dans le site ou bien par une imitation de la nature et des formes biologiques?
Prenant Oscar Niemeyer comme exemple. Cet architecte contemporain peut-il être considérer comme architecte organique ?

Selon l’école de Frank Lloyd Right, précurseur de l’architecture organique, une architecture organique doit s’intégrer dans la nature et former avec le site, un seul organisme, vivant, inséparable.

Un parangon de l’architecture organique est la maison de la cascade de Frank Lloyd Wright a Pennsylvanie. Wright a choisit de placer cette maison directement au-dessus d’une cascade, créant ainsi un dialogue sonore avec l’eau et le site escarpé. Les porte-à-faux impressionnants en béton donnent la sensation de la peur d’un équilibre instable. Cette maison devient ainsi une belle vue donc une partie vivante de la nature.

L’architecte américain définissait l’architecture organique de la manière suivante :
« L’architecture organique devrait être l’idéal moderne, et son enseignement tellement nécessaire si nous voulons voir la vie en entier, et à partir de maintenant servir la vie dans son intégralité, ne tenant aucune tradition essentielle à la grande TRADITION. Il ne faut chérir ni forme préconçue nous liant par-dessus nous aussi bien au passé, au présent qu’au futur, mais plutôt exaltant les lois simples du bon sens, ou d’un sens supérieur si vous préférez, déterminant la forme par le biais de la nature et des matériaux» Frank Lloyd Wright.

D’autre Part, Oscar Niemeyer, architecte brésilien, a fait une révolution et une guerre architectonique contre la ligne droite, les angles aigues et les formes cartésiennes arguant que la nature et les forme biologiques ne sont ni droites ni cartésiennes. Pour cela il choisi les formes en courbe, fluide et non linéaire et définit cela comme architecture organique.
Contrairement aux romantismes du mouvement de l’architecture organique, Niemeyer voit la technologie comme un progrès. La construction en béton a rendu possible les courbes avec lesquelles il complétait le design moderne et protestait contre les angles du rationalisme.
«Ce n’est pas l’angle droit qui m’attire , ni la ligne droite, dure et inflexible , créée par l’homme… Ce qui m’attire est la courbe libre et sensuelle, la courbe que je trouve dans les montagnes de mon pays, dans le cours sinueux de ses rivières, dans le corps de la femme aimée», a déclaré Niemeyer.
Niemeyer a donc résisté aux angles aigus impitoyables du modernisme.

« Un être humain ne marche pas dans les lignes droites.. J’ai eu un malaise spéciale avec des boîtes carrées », a déclaré l’architecte Joseph Pettick .

De sa part, Le théoricien David Pearson proposa la charte de Gaïa, un ensemble de règles pour dessiner une architecture organique. Selon Pearson une architecture organique doit être inspirer par la nature et être durable, bonne pour la santé, protectrice et diverse. Elle doit déplier comme un organisme se déplierait depuis l’intérieur d’une graine. Elle doit se développer à partir du site et être unique.

Alors on peut conclure que les formes naturelles et biologiques qui sont seulement une imitation des formes et une inspiration de la nature sont considéré pas plus que des formes organiques. Ainsi, l’architecture d’ Oscar Niemeyer est une imitation de la nature en forme organique. MAIS n’est pas une architecture organique vue qu’elle ne répond pas aux conditions requises d’une architecture organique de Wright et de Pearson.

By Rami Najem

Who Owns The Lebanese Coast?

The Lebanese Coast
The Lebanese Coast

Since the end of the Lebanese Civil War, the Lebanese Coast has been subject to privatization, and countless encroachments on public land. The Lebanese Coast that stretches to approximately 220 kilometers should be a source of wealth for Lebanon and a common space for its citizens, as well as provide a competitive advantage on the regional level. Instead, the coast is subject to constant violations along the beachfront.

In 2012, a report sent from the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation to the Prime Minister’s office exposes astonishing facts about organized and protected operations to seize public beachfront property in Lebanon.

The report names former presidents, ministers and parliamentarians, as well as political parties, party officials, local chieftains, and their lackeys who carry the titles of ‘investor’ or ‘entrepreneur.’ So basically, everyone who is in charge of this country.

The report estimates the total occupied beach and sea area to be over 2,535,788 square meters, in addition to around 1,356,938 million square meters of ‘licensed’ occupations.

The so-called ‘licenses’ are based on cabinet decisions which violate the constitution and basic laws. They give particular people and organizations the right to exploit public property at the expense of the rest of society.

Despite the outrageous details provided by the ministry that has been entrusted with managing maritime property, little works have been done to ensure the integrity of the shoreline, and violations are yet to be stopped.

Now, there are no laws that prevents an individual, company or organization from owning property on the coast. And according to the Lebanese Construction Law, a 10 meters retreat of the construction is to be taken into consideration when building on a river border, since rivers are considered as public entities, but there are no laws that restrict a construction on the coast.

So why is the mandatory retreat from the coast line, that is public property, excluded from the Lebanese Construction Law?

According to the report previously mentioned, The total area occupied by illegitimate beachfront encroachments is therefore just under 5 million square meters, with a current market value of tens of billions of US dollars. In the meantime, the occupiers make hundreds of millions of US dollars a year in profit.

I will just go on a hunch and say that the people who are illegitimately building on the beachfront are politically endorsed and are making too much money with the politicians who are endorsing them, and therefore no laws are being issued to stop the illegal constructions and privatizations of the coastal area that is supposed to be a public resource for all. But that’s just me, I could be wrong.

Sunset Beach, California, U.S.A.
Sunset Beach, California, U.S.A.

In the picture above you can notice that the private constructions in California have retreated from the coastline, respecting the public entity that is the beach, and that is just a small part of the Californian coast.

I am not comparing the Lebanese coast with a foreign coast, don’t get me wrong, but there should be some sort of regulations towards public spaces in Lebanon, especially the Beach. Such a waste!

In recent development, a campaign against the privatization of Raouche and the adjacent area called al-Dalieh that was initially entitled “The Last That Remains” started in early 2014, and is still active today under the name “The Civil Campaign for the Protection of Daliet – el – Raouche“.


This campaign came as reaction to a rumored (but apparently true) story, that a multi-million dollar real estate construction project by Architect “Rem Koolhaas” head of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is to be built in the “Dalieh” region.

What is The “Dalieh”? – “Dalieh” is located in the “Raouche” region, facing the famous “Pigeon Rock”. It is basically the last public beach area in Beirut.

Before the area was fenced up this year, “Dalieh” was frequently visited by the public for various activities like swimming, fishing, or simply just gathering. I’ll leave all the poetic flattery for the activists to say, but I’ll say this, “Dalieh” deserves all the attention it can get, I’m glad that someone finally stood up to say enough to all the violations that are happening on the coast.

Activists have also sent out an open letter to Mr. Rem Koolhaas, you can read it here in The Jadaliyya Website, and The Beirut Report has provided some details concerning the project’s legitimacy.

Now let’s face it, this is not the first time this has happened here in Lebanon, and it probably won’t be the last, referring here to the “Zeitouna Bay” Beirut Marina project that took away a very important part of the public sector and privatized it, to be now only visited by the higher class society. And if memory serves correctly, Steven Holl, the world-class architect, had a big part to play in it.

The Beirut Marina - Zeitouna Bay
The Beirut Marina – Zeitouna Bay

By Assaad Hakim
source: The Blogtato

Today’s Architecture… A Step into the Future

GREAT! Now that I have your attention I am going to bring up a topic that many have yet to talk about. Maybe the cause is ignorance, or perhaps the human race is just afraid of acknowledging the scientific facts in front of them, personally I believe it’s a mixture of both.


How are we reacting to the changes of this world? How is our ARCHITECTURE reacting to this overpopulation? What will happen when we exhaust our natural resources and building space? Claim the moon as building space? Maybe.

Lets review the facts –

The world population has experienced continuous growth since the end of the great famine and the black death in 1350 when it stood at 370 million. Since the industrial revolution in 1760, the population grew exponentially reaching 1 billion in 1804, growing even further to reach 6 billion in 1999, and 7 billion in 2011.

So basically humanity took since the existence of the Homosapien until 1804, to reach 1 billion, and then in 200 years managed to get multiplied by 6, and then to add another billion to its numbers in 12 years.

According to the UN, if this exponential growth continues, humanity will reach 16 billion by the year 2100

Can you imagine a 9 billion increase in population in less than a century? Off course you can! You’re Smart!

Now to the point – 

Architecture has relatively well reacted to this increase of population, living in multi-storey buildings in individual flats is proof of that. The substantial number of skyscrapers already built is also a reaction to that overpopulation.

Building space is much harder to come by these days, so humanity has taken it upon itself to solve this problem.

How you ask?

Well, by burning down forests for a start. Building cities in vast deserts, and even creating artificial islands and then selling them for high-priced building space.

ALL AWESOME IDEAS – Don’t you think?

The fact is, humanity has managed to destroy most of its natural resources in a very short amount of time!

“God always forgives, Humans Sometimes, Nature Never” – Pope Francis

Food For Thought.

By Assaad Hakim
source: The Blogtato