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  • Zoheir Bek Merhebi

University: Academie Libanaise des beaux arts master’s thesis project

Name: Zoheir Bek Merhebi

Instagram ID: zoheirbek

Project specifications

Project name: Portal 8.0: Gate of Beirut

Location: Lebanon, Beirut; Karantina

Project type: Socio-cultural hub/governmental/municipal

Total area: 17,000m2

Main program:

· Mobility operations center

· Public transportation hub

· Emergency operations units

· Data center

· Traffic control unit

· Cultural department


Throughout history, architects and urban planners have always designed cities in a defensive typology, usually the cities had a physical limit or boundary, and were walled with gateways as entrances.

Nowadays, the concept of cities has changed due to the exponential growth of populations and the expansion of cities and their suburbs. Cities have lost their sense of boundary which in turn plays a role in its identity and character.

In this report, the main objective is to show, analyze and give a new way of interpreting future cities, based on the nostalgic idea of city gateways throughout history. Moreover, how a city gateway can replenish a city and at the same time act as part of the city’s identity and character; how and why it can enhance a city’s image and change its reputation socially and economically.

Project philosophy

Is a gate a barrier or a bridge? Connector or separator? Usually a gate acts as a barrier, an obstructer, that if not open would not gain you access; nevertheless, when that same gate is open it would act as a bridge. A bridge between civilizations, landscape and mindsets. But then again an open gate that contains no obstructers is a portal, which is a more convenient term. A portal is the icon of your application on your device that takes you from your homepage into the world wide web, where reality is confined virtually. Demographic data is based on flow, the movement of humans and places of settlements. What if the portal is the collector of demographic data collection? A portal is the physical act in which virtuality is captured in the real. A gate was a barrier. A portal is a link…

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