BEIRUT: The Grand Serail Beirut is known for being a historic building and the most important of three Ottoman monuments on the Serail hill in Downtown, Beirut.
In 2018, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced the transformation of the historic cross vault hall in Beirut’s Grand Serail into a creative working environment, by bringing the Serail Creativity Hub, a digital oasis, to life with the help of IDEAS Accelerate Growth, a citizen-centric organization.
Earlier this week, the Deans of architecture faculties across Lebanese universities were invited to the Grand Serail Beirut with IDEAS in order to launch a new competition that allows architecture students to compete for the chance to be the designers of the Serail Creativity Hub.
The board of Deans included Dr. Elie Haddad, Dean of Architecture and Design at LAU, Dr. Serje Yazigi, visiting professor at the Department of Architecture at AUB, Mrs. Christiane Camil Sfeir, Chief of Architecture at LU, Prof. Ibtihal El Bastawi, Dean of Architecture and design at BAU, Dr. Jean Pierre El Asmar, Dean of architecture and design at NDU, Dr. Paul Zgheib, Dean of Architecture USEK, Mr. Dmitri Bekhazi, adjunct Dean of Architecture at ALBA, and Ms. Hadil Ankouni, Design instructor and faculty member of PU. In addition to IDEAS team chaired by Co-founder Ghiath Al Barazi, and media partner from An-Nahar, Nayla Tueine-Maktabi.
The competition will include teams of architecture students from each university, who will then study the 400 meters squared space, and come up with conceptual designs over the course of five weeks turning the Serail Creativity Hub into reality.
“There’s great importance to this competition,” Serail Design competition project manager, Ezzat Kraytem told Annahar, “It’s the first time that the Serail gets the universities publicly engaged with something going on inside the Serail, and getting students involved in designing and creating this is something very important.”
Kraytem went on to explain the importance of the voting system on the winning teams, which will be public voting. “The voting won’t be by technical experts solemnly,” said Kraytem, mentioning that the voting will be by a jury of specialists, including Annahar editor-in-chief Nayla Tueini, and public voting.
“We are encouraging our students to get into this competition.” Dr. Yazigi told Annahar, “through this competition students will work and have technical experience, in addition to learning what is essential to architecture and design students.”
The competition will initially launch on the campuses of universities involved. The winning teams on each campus will move forward to the next level at the Grand Serail.
The winning team will receive L.L 10 million, where architect Salim Ansari and his firm will execute the winning project.
IDEAS chairman and Co-founder, Ghaith Al Barazi, explained the importance of this competition from the students' angle, where they will have the chance to present their best, and work up to their full potential bringing the best Lebanon has to offer from youth initiatives.
“We support this project immensely, especially for the Lebanese university students.” Dr. Sfeir told Annahar, “We see a large number of students leaving the country as soon as they graduate so this initiative can serve greatly for these students to stay in Lebanon and they can get a feeling that the government supports them.”
The project was initially dated to launch by April 6th, but due to the concern of Deans over their students’ performance under the pressure of short timing, the project was given extra time for implementation.
“Our greatest concern is that our student will fall under extreme stress and pressure if they are not given extra time.” said Prof. El Bastawissi, “students also have exams and projects and we definitely don’t want our students to suffer from that.”
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.