(1996) Ahlam Tower

client : Jamil Ibrahim & Selim Saab
typology : Residential
services : Architecture
where : Beirut, Lebanon

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

“Al Ahlam tower” means the building of dreams. This residential tower might seem to be only luxurious but much more goes for it then its nearby buildings. Each of the 20 floors is 900 sqm. It overlooks the panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea as well as the beautiful stretch of the Beirut coastline. The views will never be obstructed as it sits on the most prominent corniche in the country, a stone’s throw away from the breaking waves.

The unique feature is the small fishermen’s port right at the bottom of the building. It is linked directly to a small bay at the lower basement floor, and accessed from the sea through a tunnel that runs underneath the coastal road. Each apartment has its own docking space for a small boat. Residents can take the elevator down, bring their boat into the water and sail off to any destination.

Beside all interior facilities for every apartment, every one has various service areas located in different parts of the complex for specific reasons. Car parking is at the basement floors with access from the back street. Small units are also located in the basement to be used as residences for staff or as storage areas. Tennis courts are on the roof of the parking block, and small gardens around the ground floor provide independent, though private outdoor spaces for the residents.

The main architectural concept is based on providing an enjoyable overlook of all apartments over the coastal views. The sculpting style of the architect goes without saying. Balconies on the overlaying floors gradually open out from the main building limit hinging from the back corner.

Although interrupted by some balconies on few floors, sharp slick lines still define the corners of the building running from ground level to the top. This is one of the architect’s style in defining the building limits while still enjoying the fact of making it a piece of free standing vertically elongated sculpture. Another feature is his way of making sure that this sculpture has a crowned end. In this case, he does that by adorning the roof floor with high wall elements and ornamenting them with certain openings and protruded circular volumes, all articulated to relate to the whole composition of the building. All façades have granite cladding laid in an alternating order or polished and sand blasted surfaces. White ceramic covers certain edges such as the corners of columns and walls. This to highlight those areas with the slight contrast provided.