When you live in a city and pass the same developed areas day after day, you can forget that the concrete jungle is unnatural. Sure, it may feel natural to you after a while, but you would undoubtedly also enjoy some greenery. Some botanical specimens to offset the amounts of carbon dioxide released by the buses, taxis, and private vehicles. Which is why contemporary urban planners and architects often try to fuse the urban with the organic.
This fusion can be seen in Samir Kassir Square in the heart of Beirut, where two old Ficus trees provide shade and serenity. The surrounding garden, composed mostly of pools of running water, are also intended to cause passersby to feel connected to a more natural environment (although this Green Prophet wonders how water efficient the pools actually are).
The garden was commissioned by Solidere (Société Libanaise de Développement et Reconstruction) as part of a plan to revitalize the business district of Beirut, and is somewhat reminiscent of Dani Karavan‘s Orchard installation in 2008 on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv. Karavan’s installation asked viewers to think about what Tel Aviv-Jaffa would be like if we hadn’t destroyed the abundant local orchards and had instead created an urban environment in which the orchards constituted an integral element. Could the installation in Samir Kassir Square be asking the same thing?
The garden, which was designed by Vladimir Djurovic, won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007, and continues to bring greenery to an area otherwise surrounded by offices in skyscrapers.
See more views of the garden in the video clip below:
Read more about green urban design and sustainable architecture:
Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard Just Got a Little Greener with Dani Karavan
Hassan Fathy is the Middle East’s Father of Sustainable Architecture
Bring Moshe Safdie’s Green Building to the Middle East