Building for the future but with an awareness of the past has always been of great importance for us at Andrea Vattovani Architecture. Our strategy the “programmed glocalization” is our response for this fast developing world where we sadly see more and more projects that seem like they could be transferred from one city to another. We believe this is wrong. Every project we do starts with a thorough research of the place we are working at, because every place has a unique story to tell either because of the context or rich cultural background.
“Retro67” perhaps wants to communicate even more its strong relation to Beirut. We picked up several elements from the surrounding, starting with the protection from the sun. Beirut is very sunny and people tend to protect their flats and balcony from direct light and heat. All around Beirut you can see old flats with the oldest man made (and probably easiest) form of sunshade - “the Curtain”. We decided to reinterpret this element and add it to our design. In Beirut you can also find balconies that are quite green, a lot of plants and/or nature that has taken over the man made structures. So we also decided to add this green element, plants as source of fresh oxygen and again maybe the very first sunshade. Imagine the picture of a person sitting under a tree.
We took this very simple elements and worked with the given guidelines, the structure became part of the design but it seemed necessary to compensate with different floor height. The budget is not unlimited so we didn’t want to have too complicated architecture or materials. The project is simple, fresh, young and wants to scream his presence in the neighbourhood. Urbanistically it was important for us to underline the perspectives of the street, in site plan you can see that we respect the structure of the city and improve it.
One very important element is also the corner. In Beirut there are several round buildings that seem so characteristic for it. Our round corner is a reminder of this element but also a solution to solve the unfriendly form of the plot. The rounded corner emphasizes the shape of the building but it doesn’t act as a balcony. The rounded beam combined with the curtains creates a completely different form and appearance of our design. We created a strong design language for this concept that still remains very simple and coherent with our style and while reflecting what impressed us the most when it comes to Beirut.
The flats themselves are very simple mini apartments, most of them with mezzanines as requested per RFP. For us it was very important to have exceptions per floor to offer different choices to the possible buyers and still have almost only one typology throughout the building. The flats are very modern and tend to use wall materials like concrete and brick to create a vintage/industrial style. We propose also to have several interior styles for the buyers to choose from. The top floors become bigger penthouses with a wonderful view to the city and the sea.
All the apartments have access to terraces, which act as a buffer space between indoors and outdoors. The curtains and plants as well as additional smaller mezzanine terraces spread around building provide additional shade for the building and help creating a more comfortable climate and living conditions.
Andrea Vattovani Architecture (AVA) is an award winning studio specialized in architecture, urbanism, design as well as research. Our team has already developed over 70 projects and competitions in several countries. Our Graz based studio has worked on a variety of projects, each one having been developed with particular attention to its individual case, while holding on to AVA’s mission. Specifically, we believe that as planners and designers of urban projects and buildings, we have the responsibility to improve the city’s quality through creating real solutions. More generally, some of the key strategies of our team are creative reduction of form, meticulous attention to detail, and always achieving a noble architectural design with a strong focus on functionality and accurate response to site surrounding.