(1998) Al Maha Tower

client : Raef Mourtada
typology : Residential
services : Architecture, Interior Design
where : Beirut, Lebanon

Retrospective 1991-2000 video: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPyTSojDdNX/

This residential building is located on the boulevard along the only sandy beach in Beirut called ‘Ramlet El Bayda’. It has 9 stories, each one apartment of 650 sqm. The ground floor has a grand entrance hall with offices at the side and a small apartment for the concierge. The Gate and part of the driveway are covered with a cantilevered structure of steel and glass. There are parking spaces to the side and in the basement. The later also houses a private health club including a swimming pool lit naturally through a skylight.

Despite the strict limitations and construction regulations of the area, the design process aimed at creating and unconventional and unique shape. The building blends in its context and elegantly stands freely as a landmark. It has a pink-brown color with a light contrast achieved through the stone treatment. Cladding of all surfaces is of granite, with alternating panels in some areas between shiny polished ones and sand blasted others. Rounded windows and openings are located on different parts of the façade to give the building a marine character.

All façade openings, including windows, are balconies. Some are kept within the building limits; others are protruding and overhanging as independent platforms. Large windows have floor to ceiling glass doors that open to small 50cm wide balconies. The first and last floor have a balcony overhanging in a side direction, whereas the 7 stories in between have them protruding to the front side. All balustrades are made of transparent glass to maintain the transparency and open view towards the sea. The top of the building continues with the walls elevating few meters to form a surrounding band. This form emerges as a crown, ornamented with a series of slots, color contrasts of stone treatment, a sharp intersection on the corner and a circular cut at the protruding edge.