ACS faculty building
Located in Beirut between two existing residential structures, the new American Community School Faculty Building serves as both residences for faculty members and classrooms for students.
The project offers an opportunity to rethink the relationship between campus and city, living and learning, and the challenge of designing for both in a single structure. The new building needs to serve not only its own mixed program, but also to act as a connection between the disparate existing buildings of the school, that are spread on several plots across a street.
The building challenges the dichotomies of the program by the articulation of its façade as a single continuous element, a series of vertical concrete louvers that wrap around the entire structure, only stopping twice; once to reveal on one top corner the residential nature of the upper section, and once extending over the entire footprint of the plot on the Ground Floor, to shelter a large courtyard passage that links the two existing buildings.
The academic bloc extends over four stories and a basement, creating a podium base that is sheltered from the street and surroundings by the louvers. The circulation spaces and open areas of learning are situated along the perimeter, enlivening the façade with the student flow and movement.
The top of the learning-center-podium houses common learning areas and landscaped playgrounds, completely open to the city, and creating a visual shift from the academic base towards the residential tower.
Thus the façade becomes the articulator of these dual relationships: City and campus, living and learning, all wrapped in a single porous shell that echoes the open philosophy of learning of the school.