The architecture and vision of the K Galleria project are inspired by the infamous ancient khan or urban caravanserai, the equivalent of the public marketplace in the Middle East during the Ottoman era.
As both client and architect wanted to avoid creating yet another clone of the traditional shopping mall or department store, capturing the vernacular and social essence of the traditional khans was a primary concern in the design of K Galleria. It was essential to transcend the mere commercial and retail functions, and rather create a space for recreation and socialization, acting as a funnel to collect social crowds from the surrounding neighborhoods.
The project is located in the thriving coastal city of Kaslik (North of Beirut), a small city with a mixed residential and commercial purpose. The civil war has contributed to the growth of businesses in the neighborhood’s commercial strip that became known as one of Lebanon's most prestigious streets filled with boutiques, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, as well as a prominent university.
Adjacent to the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), the new lifestyle center comes as an extension to the main commercial strip, aiming to serve to the social and commercial demands of the surrounding local community of students, residents of all ages, businessmen and tourists, as well as the larger area of Keserwan.
Architectural elements recalling the ancient khans, such as Khan El Franj which is one of the finest examples of the architecture of its time, serve as the basis for the design vocabulary of K Galleria.
Volumetrically, the building presents itself as a solid monolithic cubic element evoking the typical square layout of the khans, with a shifted parallelepiped that breaks up the bulky look of the volume and generates the geometry of the main atrium or central courtyard.
As a reference to the loopholes on the outer walls of Khan El Franj, the K Galleria elevations are partially traversed with vertical openings, creating an inviting and attractive building facade with strong visual relations with its contiguous exterior spaces, and allowing natural light and ventilation to enter the building, thus saving on energy.
This contemporary interpretation of the vernacular is complemented with the sober choice of natural local white stone treated in a contemporary aspect, as the main building material.
Conceived as a major entertainment destination, K Galleria offers a robust menu of lifestyle choices where the retail component becomes more or less supplemental, as 35% of the leased space is earmarked for leisure and dining activities.
The program consists of a supermarket, a retail zone, a bookshop, coffee shops, an indoor and outdoor food court area housing various types of restaurants, a kids play area and an extensive car parking with a 264-car capacity over five underground floors.