Gillespies has won an international design competition to create two important public spaces in the historic heart of Beirut.
Solidere, the Lebanese company responsible for the development and reconstruction of Beirut city centre, has commissioned the firm to rejuvenate the city’s Roman Baths and Omar Daouk Square.
The Baths are one of Lebanon’s most valuable archaeological sites restored by Solidere and are located in Beirut city centre, close to the Place de l’Etoile and national government buildings.
Following the redesign, they will become an important visitor centre and concert venue amid themed terraced gardens. The Roman Baths are one of four main archaeological sites that, in the future, will be connected in a 5,000m-long heritage pedestrian trail that will enable visitors to learn about 5,000 years of Beirut’s history.
Gillespies’ design aims to unify a dislocated space with a series of ‘passerelles’ (footbridges in French), taking visitors around and above the timeless baths into the delights of the south and north gardens. The terraced landscape takes reference from the Roman construction techniques, use of water and architecture in and around the Baths.
The Omar Daouk space, also located in the central district, is dominated by the impression of an isolated green island surrounded by busy and heavily trafficked roads. Gillespies’ design proposes to re-attach the space to adjacent properties, make the space more accessible and useable and to facilitate pedestrian connections with other places.