Worldview: Beirut

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Worldview: Perspectives on Architecture and Urbanism from Around the Globe is a web-based project of the Architectural League that looks at the world’s cities through the eyes of young architects who live and work in them. The project was inaugurated in late 2002 with a report on Caracas, Venezuela, and continues with several new reports each year, concentrating on cities often overlooked by the mainstream architectural press.

Each Worldview report is conceived and assembled by an individual or pair of local architects, with contributions from other members of the city’s architecture community. Each report features an interview with the reporting architects, maps and statistical information, and a richly illustrated timeline of the city’s architectural history. Pressing issues in the city’s development are analyzed in illustrated essays and interviews with local architects and planners. Each report also presents a snapshot of the work of ten to fifteen young architecture firms, providing a compelling overview of the issues and ideas that are inspiring young architects around the world.

Beirut has re-emerged as a major field of experimentation in design trends and ideas in the Arab world. A look at a selection of young Lebanese architects reveals a plurality of design approaches, exhibiting a dynamism that results from the different educational schools, compounded by the experiences that some architects returning from Europe or the United States have brought to the local culture. This selection of young architects who are actively participating in the shaping of a new architectural culture in Lebanon and the region, testifies to the diversity of architecture culture in Beirut, and provides some hope in countering the decades of banal and mediocre production that was typical of the 1970’s-and 80’s.

Worldview has been made possible by grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the J. Clawson Mills Fund of the Architectural League, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.