BEIRUT: After a previous meeting with IDEAS Accelerate Growth, a citizen-centric organization, and the Deans of Architecture faculties of Lebanese universities over the launching of The Serail Creativity Hub Design Competition, architecture student teams were invited Saturday for a general meeting regarding the logistics and details of the competition.
“The most challenging thing here is to combine between the old and the new” lead architect and owner of Asya Architects, Salim Ansari told Annahar. “This hall dates back to 300 years old, and we are looking for new technologies within the old space. We are looking forward to seeing that adaptation, flexibility, and coping with technology, in addition to the emphasis on the space.”
In 2018, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced the transformation of the historic cross-vault Sin Beirut’s Grand Serail into a technologically-empowered creative working environment, and now it’s up to the architecture student teams to bring their most innovative designs and ideas to the table.
The hub will be an innovative, creative space within a historical Ottoman-built setting. The approximately 400-sqm space will preserve its original historical identity while functioning as an efficient, professional, digitally-enabled working space. It will also serve as a showcase for advancement in technology, the arts, sciences, and any other dimension of innovation that could be present on the Lebanese territories, complementing and supporting while never competing with the private sector.
“Trying to put all that is required in this one space is the challenge here for the students.” Serail Design Competition project manager, Ezzat Kraytem told Annahar. “We want the “wow effect”, we want people to be amazed when they come into the Serail, and get the feeling that we are ready to learn from the past and look toward the future. It's not only the heritage but the future as well.”
Contestants were given seven weeks for such a conceptual challenge to be completed, innovative and creative Lebanese students at Lebanon’s universities are called upon to submit their conceptual designs by May 3rd, 2019.
“Altogether, 128 students split into 25 teams from 7 universities.” Dalia Khalil, strategy consultant of IDEAS told Annahar. “They will be crunching their creative mind to conceptualize multi-functional spaces where Lebanon’s public and private sector will meet to discuss and move towards innovative ideas for a better Lebanon.”
Khalil further explained that the jury will not be the complete decision maker in announcing the winning team, there will also be public voting through Annahar Newspaper, and the official results will be announced on May 12, 2019.
The public voting will be held online on the official Annahar website, and the elected teams will post a one minute video of their conceptual designs to get voted on.
The grading criteria of the conceptual designs will be shortlisted according to the sufficiency of deliverables, heritage preservation, and quantity of deliverable. While the assessment criteria will be based on space identity and concept, creativity, functionality and flow, flexibility and adaptability, feasibility, the energy saving aspect, acoustic solutions proposed, futuristic readiness, lighting solutions and mood, and public voting results.
“We are so excited about the historical feel of the whole place.” Carol, Sarah, and Malak of the Lebanese American University (LAU) team told Annahar, “Our main focus will be on preserving that heritage. It's going to be very challenging to combine the old and the new, and time management is going to be very crucial in this project, we can’t wait to start brainstorming and working on this project.”
Aside from the recognition by the Prime Minister, media coverage, and association of the winning team and university’s name to the space, a L.L 10 million award is offered to the winning team.
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