Raed Abillama Architects - FNB HQ, an environmentally conscious structure in the heart of the city
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FNB HQ, an environmentally conscious structure in the heart of the city

Raed Abillama Architects

Office&Business  /  Completed
Raed Abillama Architects

The idea for the project came from the banks’ growth and desire to centralize all its activities in the heart of the capital, Beirut. The strategic site is surrounded by institutional, corporate and governmental facilities on the peripheral of the National Museum. In light of recent sustainable architectural movements, the client wanted an environmentally conscious structure and conceptual approach that responds to its surrounding context, housing the headquarters for the First National Bank.

The corner site helps give the South facade a clear image of the headquarters to the main highway with the vehicular access to the underground parking benefitting from the secondary street. The allowable building height further benefits from the zoning and direct context of, street and adjacent built structures.

The towers are carefully positioned according to the movement of the sun and the nature of the views from the different parts of the building. The building’s position on site also factors in a sensitive relationship to the neighbouring plots, minimizing blank facades on the periphery, and integrating a back garden that benefits the different surrounding plots.

A vital element of the design approach was the development of a sun shading system as a second skin. The façade elements that form this lattice are made of Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete (GRC) and float upon the glass surface of the building itself. These louvers were selectively placed to correlate with the movement of the sun through the day, helping to control the temperature of the interiors and reduce the need for energy intensive artificial cooling. This passive façade is one of the most important elements within an extensive portfolio of environmentally responsive measures applied to the headquarters. Landscaping and planting were key concerns, with the introduction of green roofs, terraces and peripheral trees using native species with minimal water irrigation needs.

The building’s massing is composed of two main towers connected at each level by a glazed circulation ‘bridge’, within an overall flexible floor plan that accommodates the projected growth of the bank. A retail branch is located at the ground and mezzanine levels, while a cafeteria sits at the adjacent base of the building fronted by a flexible gallery space that can be used for various cultural or social events. The offices on the floors above are punctuated with meeting rooms and common spaces, offering a flexible range of functions and possibilities within the building. In addition, eight underground levels provide discreet spaces for services and parking. Access to the building is optimized and subdivided through various circulation cores of elevators and fire-rated staircases that meet at the ground level, with public circulation leading down to the parking levels, and private access-controlled circulation leading to the top floors. The higher levels of the bank are additionally connected via a glass floating staircase that allows a visual and direct link between the floors.
Landscaped terraces and roofs are integrated at multiple levels in the building, providing an ambient and accessible outdoor space to the bank employees. A modular planting system to the rear of the building, functioning as a green wall and referencing the main louver structure, helps to provide privacy from neighboring buildings while adding to the palette of greenery.

Raed Abillama Architects study intricately the design approach early on in the concept phase to limit changes during construction. This ensures the exact result to the client, which in this case were thrilled with the final outcome of the project, having been delivered as promised, respecting timelines and the overall budget.


 Bank Headquarters
 17500 mq
 Raed Abillama Architects
 Raed Abillama Architects
 Entreprises A.R. Hourie
 Wissam Chaaya


Raëd Abillama Architects is an innovative and progressive award-winning architectural practice with an international portfolio of projects and broad experience in residential, commercial, retail and leisure commissions.
Led by founder and principal Raëd Abillama, the practice has extensive residential experience with apartment buildings and luxury single residences, both in Lebanon and further afield, including landmark projects in New York and beyond. The studio’s successes also include winery projects, restaurants and commercial buildings, with bank headquarters and offices prominent among them, as well as restorations of historic period structures.
The practice consists of over twenty architects, interior designers and structural engineers. The breadth of expertise within the studio offers clients the reassurance of a complete architectural and design service, encompassing each and every phase of a project.


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