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LAU architecture builds bridge to public sector

July 24, 2012—

Two LAU architecture classes presented end-of-year projects focusing on Jounieh and the historical area of Byblos, respectively, leading to exhibitions hosted by the municipalities of both cities.

University officials say the collaboration exemplifies the fruitful partnership between LAU and the public sector.

“LAU has always tried to work with the community to find urban-restoration solutions for many areas in Lebanon,” said LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra thanking both municipalities for their support.

During the July 7th opening ceremony for the Jounieh exhibition, President of the Municipal Council Antoine Frem - also a member of LAU Board of Trustees - stressed the important role that engaged universities like LAU can play in collaborating with the public sector.

Under the supervision of Dr. Elie Haddad, assistant dean and professor at the School of Architecture and Design (SArD), and part-time professor Tarek Zeidan, five students undertook a comprehensive urban design study of the lively neighborhood of Maameltein. Based on that study, each proposed an innovative urban plan for the area, centered on specific themes and taking into account the particular nuances of the community.

SArD Lecturer Antoine Lahoud’s students meanwhile worked on the historical area of Byblos, a UNESCO world heritage site. Their projects featured in a July 7-12 exhibition hosted by the Byblos Cultural Center, “Byblos Through the Eyes of LAU Graduate Architects 2012.”

“The end-of-year project was the fruit of five years of work,” said Lahoud, who had encouraged his eight students to take up the challenge of proposing a design over many layers of civilizations in Lebanon’s oldest city.

“I would like to thank LAU for choosing Byblos — with all its richness — as a lab for its students’ final project,” said Ziad Hawat, head of the Byblos municipality.

“This kind of collaboration between LAU and the Byblos municipality will always be open for many projects to come.”

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The exhibition at Jounieh municipality featured the work of student Sabine Aoun, who proposed a Performance Art Center in Maameltein; Nancy Aoun, who projected a Women’s Housing; Tarek Ibrahim, who proposed a large public market with a pier extending into the water; Sandy Sabsaby who designed a combined Police Station and Fire Station on the highway side; Elise Shebaya who proposed a large social housing project near the market zone; and Tarek Baalbaki, here seen presenting his project, a Youth Hostel combined with a Community Centre.

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LAU’s outgoing provost Dr. Abdallah Sfeir was impressed by the local tone of the exhibit: “The proposals showed the students had a deep understanding of the environment they were designing for,” he said.

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Dr. Elie Haddad (second from right), Tarek Zeidan (third from right) and the exhibiting students.

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At the Byblos exhibition opening ceremony, Antoine Lahoud, here presenting the projects, explained that students had total free reign on the design of their community projects.

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Latife Lakis, chairperson of the Byblos International Festival said she was pleased the exhibition was held in tandem with the annual summer festival, as it gave the exhibition greater exposure. “Having the exhibition during the festival adds an intellectual flavor and proves that LAU is present on the cultural map of Byblos,” she said.

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Ziad Hawat, head of Byblos municipality, presents student Namitta Merchak with a recognition plaque for her project “Dialogue of Civilization.”

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