Project Team | Karine Fakhry, Diane Sawaya, Chrystele Karam
Collaboration | Yasmine Abboud, Cedric Azzi, Bassem Chahwan, Roula Gholmieh, Nathalie Habre, Candice Naim, Nathalie Saleh
3d Rendering | Hady Haswani
sugarlane | competition | 2012
zalka - lebanon
Sugar Lane, adaptive reuse and extension project explores the connections between the city and its edge, the existing and the new, between structure and skin, materiality and immateriality. ‘Société Libanaise de Raffinerie du Sucre’ (SLRS), a sugar refinery built in several phases starting the early 50’s up to the mid 60’s, transforms into an urban scale mixed-use project by the sea shore, overlooking the Mediterranean, in an area of Lebanon slowly transforming from heavy industrial to commercial.
Although located on three consecutive plots, one in Amaret Chalhoub (Plot 116), two in Zalka (Plots 306, 312), separated by secondary public roads, the existing buildings embrace all their architectural significance and presence by spanning their consecutive façades over a length of 300m, the front façade facing the street, the back façade facing the sea and the overall built up area adding up to 15,000sqm.
The architectural strategy arose from the analysis of the existing conditions of this old factory, sometimes surprising, sometimes unexpected; from the emotions experienced during the repeated promenades though the buildings, up and down the steel structure, through the maze of uneven spaces; from the emotions of excitement and nervousness, exhilaration and apprehension; from the systematic grid of concrete or steel structure; from existing moments, sometimes architectural such as factory windows, sometimes programmatic such as floor openings that used to hold all the refinery process machinery; or even from dramatic thresholds such as two buildings so close to each other that one could simply jump in the air from one to the other.
The intervention on the existing buildings carves the facades to reveal their inner structure inside out, and wraps them with a translucent skin all around, revealing it to the viewer on the street for the first time. The new buildings organize themselves around the existing ones, cutting through them, cantilevering over them or becoming completely adjacent to them to almost form one entity.
The continuous skyline is shaped by a system of roofs stemming from the pitched roof silhouette of the steel building; a series of pitched roofs, pitch roof shapes, solar panels shading ‘memory’ roofs, elongated very finely pitched roofs ending up in a cantilevered auditorium.
The sea front, left abandoned during the factory years, extends the project and the city edge to loop into an urban beach all the way to the sea. This urban beach is constructed though a absorption between the grid of the existing buildings and the topography lines, creating extensions of ground floor programs (market, restaurant, green spaces), creating specific outdoor programs, lounging areas, selling booths, outdoor theatre, sea bar, benches and so on, recreating at the edge of Beirut City the notion of public space.
The programmatic connections occur longitudinally, building and program linked by one common entity: THE LANE, the sugar lane, the circulation lane, the walking, running, the biking lane. This lane or track articulate the circulation paths through the buildings, horizontally, vertically, but also engage the outdoor spaces all along the sea shore.
Each part of the project has been segmented, architecturally and programmatically, to create self-sufficient, autonomous buildings all along the phases of construction.The intervention injects different types of functions, giving a second life to the factory to stimulate public creativity and attract a diversified crowd. The inherited industrial spatial features follow a new process, a new logic, where functions activate themselves independently and simultaneously, leading to diverse unexpected outcomes, not an anticipated final product. This sequential logic will reproduce the creative cycle which will bring creative individuals from inspiration to final product.