Zaha Hadid’s building for the American University of Beirut
A forum for debating public policies
Famed London-based Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid has completed a top-heavy building for the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, which appears to jut out over a public courtyard and a series of elevated pathways.
The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (known as the 'IFI') has been designed to provide a, "forum for debating public policies and decision-making in the Arab World, particularly issues such as the refugee crisis and climate change."
It is a 3,000 square-metre space located within the university campus, originally built by American firm Sasaki Associates in 2002.
To retain the established pathways and landscaping, Zaha Hadid Architects has lifted half the building off the ground, creating a public plaza at the entrance – which is described by the studio as, "a forum for the exchange of ideas".
The site is surrounded by ficus and cypress trees that are hundreds of years old, and like all other buildings on campus, the IFI building is constructed purely from concrete. Each wall is indented with windows. "The building takes full advantage of the region's tradition and expertise of working with in-situ concrete," said Hadid's team.