harboring infrastructure

Historically, the production of architecture required a joined knowledge of tectonics and aesthetics. In recent decades however, construction and fabrication knowledge have been distanced from architectural education and practice, creating a gap between design and building.

Indeed, two major architectural design methods today —figuration and computational design, do not put materials and fabrication concerns at the center of the design process. On the one hand, the computational approach has been too often delivering surface architectures without thicknesses and serious engagement in materiality and tectonics. On the other hand, figuration uses architectural/urban narrative as its drive, focusing on storytelling, process, scale and enclosure, leaving material considerations to the last phase of design.

The task of the studio is to re-couple design and fabrication in confronting materiality to other criteria (context, program, structure, environmental performance, spatiality…) at all times of the design process.


The rapid development of the Lebanese Coast over the past several years has driven an increased need for public transport serving this linear region, and for public access to privatized harbors.

The studio’s mission is to design a serie of ferry terminals on the Coast. The proposed terminals will be nodes of a new water transportation network; necessary for commuting efficiently between coastal cities, in addition to becoming cultural infrastructures that relink people to the waterfront.

Three keys sites have been selected in the harbors of major coastal cities: Beirut, Jounieh and Tripoli. The architectural interventions on the different sites shall transform them into a gate /venue for their respective cities.


The design of the Ferry Terminal should be innovative and forward thinking in its address of the needs of contemporary commuters, who may wish to shop, eat, attend a cultural event, use wireless connection while waiting in the terminal or its surrounding waterfront landscape...

The commute by ferry boat, unlike any other form of public transportation, offers to the public unprecedented opportunities to experience the natural phenomena of the waterfront: the play of light, access to vistas and the horizon, and the unique physical situation of being on the edge where land and water meet.

The design of the terminal building and its landscape context should allow commuters to engage in dynamic and ephemeral experiences, which will fluctuate according to time of day, weather and season.

Material and immaterial flows, kinetic and static space, geography, light and wind, flexibility will be subjects to investigate, abstract, codify and explore architecturally. Urban strategies dealing with infrastructure and public space will also be explored.

The Ferry Terminal shall comprise a waterfront park and a terminal building with a mixture of cultural and commercial functions, overlapping cultural events with transportation facilities, and rethinking architecture’s civic presence.


The program offers a variety of scales and intensities.
While the program includes certain private components, the public mission of the site should be foregrounded in designing a threshold between the water and ground, whether interior or exterior.

The terminal building will consist of a 3500-m2 indoor space that includes:

Terminal   [1000 m2]
Entrance, Outdoor Loggia, Info Point, Ticket Sales, Shops, Café, Viewing Space, Lounge, Exhibition Space

Public Toilets  [100m2]
Men’s , Women’s

Public Lockers, [100m2]
Bikes Rental [50 m2]

Lodging [500 m2]
Lobby, 10 Small Rooms  [20 m2 each], 5 Large Rooms [30 m2 each], Kitchen, Dining, Laundry        

Restaurant   [400 m2]
Waiting, Dining, Kitchen

Convention Center [1000 m2]
Foyer, Convention Hall, WC, Coats

Cultural Funtion of your choice [200 m2]

Technical Space [200 m2]

Infrastructure [as needed]
Bus Stop ,Parking [15 cars], Drop-off Loop

Ferry Dock
Roof Deck
Waterfront Park


In the first half of the semester, the studio will start with the analysis and reinterpretation of context and program. Recorded observation will lead to the development of architectural attitudes.

Students will conduct personal research on structural and construction methods, which must inform their tectonic and spatial reconfigurations, and inspire innovative architectural solutions.

In parallel, they will explore nonlinear relationships of narrative, form, structure, program, environmental performance and material components, in search for integrated site/program/architectural strategies.

The second half of the semester will be dedicated to the development of the building from the point of view of its construction system, materiality, and its details.

To this end, spatial or typological arrangements will be fixed and the focus will be to generate a building system based on material performance, its means and methods of assembly, and joinery as a prerequisite for its morphological and organizational development. 

The definition of a system- with rules and anomalies, that adapts to different scales; is as a prerequisite for this second phase of the studio.

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