Katia Chehayeb

One of the main concerns of a site study is the relationship of that site with its surrounding.  After having understood the comparison between the Palmanuova Plan and Da Vinci’s sketch (view of Milan), the question of where and how to draw boundaries rises. Porous boundaries are preferable since it helps question and figure the connection of the site to its surroundings. In addition, a site is characterized by the different scales of activity around it. Taking the Harbor of Jounieh, it is surrounded by a military area, hotels, restaurants, public parks across the street and private areas, therefore this site can be described as a cultural commercial and active public space. Sites are perceived differently by people; each person looks at what interests him, therefore the boundaries of the site also change depending on who’s looking. A designer should keep in mind that sites can change beyond their control and hence analyze the site continuously.
What determines the behavior of a site is the internal relationship of its parts. So as much as the form of the site and the forms of the building around it is important, designers should give greater attention to the forms connecting the site to the buildings around it. A designer should classify these forms into basic geometric forms in order to understand the proportions of not only each form by itself, but the relationship between individual elements as well. This is important to help read the history of the buildings. For example, similar parts were added to the Mosque at Cordoba, forms that were established locally, and therefore kept the same image and reflected the same history. As for Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital, the different parts used do not give it a unified image, and therefore it doesn’t not reflect the history of the land. Concerning the Jounieh site, we have to think about what the site tells us about the history of the land, looking at the forms of the building and what they refer to, and question whether they give the land a unified image or a mixed composition. 

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