Designed in 1962 by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer but abandoned on the brink of completion when civil war erupted in 1975, the Rachid Karami International Fair was recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage tentative list. One of its 15 pavilions, the Guest House was chosen to be transformed into a design platform and production facility promoting Tripoli’s long-established, pioneering but latterly declining wood industry. Informed by examination of similar but completed Niemeyer projects, the interventions – all reversible – principally comprise: adding flexible, transparent steel-and-glass partitions that echo the ceiling’s rhythmic structural grid; concealing structural elements behind locally sourced plywood panelling; and introducing electro-mechanical features, including custom-made lighting again based on the ceiling grid. The fluid, cyclical programme leads seamlessly from reception space to material library, co-working space and workshop. The project has boosted the industry’s presence nationally and internationally, and spurred work on a conservation plan for the entire site.
Country of origin: Lebanon Location: Tripoli, Lebanon Client: Expertise France Architect: East Architecture Studio / Nicolas Fayad, Charles Kettaneh Completed: 2018