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Marea Residential Complex

Landscape and the Man-Made Transform a Derelict Site

WORKac

Marea Residential Complex
By Diana Carta -
Duravit, AGC Glass Europe, Delta Light have participated in the project

Any location can be construed in a wide variety of ways, depending on the particular visionary take of the architect.
Any change-inducing project that transforms a site reflects how the present is seen to relate to the future. Viewed from this perspective, the Marea residential project is a complex composition in which architecture and landscape work together to produce private and collective spaces for use today, but which also envisage what will be.

The transformative action in question was posited on giving a new lease of life to an area that until fairly recently had been an army camp of the Syrian forces that once occupied the country, and as such, inaccessible to civilians. The scene was one of scattered concrete blocks and rusting iron structures. The turn-around project for this disused coastal site involved creating a clearly organized residential complex. Washed by the Mediterranean, the area lies to the south of Batroun, one of Lebanon’s older cities whose maritime landscape still bears traces of its Phoenician past.

This was the articulated checkerboard for which Amale Andraos and Dan Wood, founders of the New-York based firm WORKac, were asked to devise a project to give a whole new face to this coastal stretch. As the architects themselves note, the defining characteristic of the local landscape is the spatial compression between mountain to sea, which inevitably became the leitmotif of the whole project. The steeply sloped site, divided into four terraced rows, allows the high-density housing program to be offset by a sense of space, with each Marea unit – from the highest point down to the public beach – designed to have sea views. The tightly packed program is based on a pattern of different triangulated shapes.
They lend dynamism to the green roofs and create floor plans that offer multiple outlooks onto the landscape. Recurrent diagonal lines – another element of the triangle –...

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