As its named implies, the American University of Beirut has an easy going, West Coast campus atmosphere. There is no consistent architectural character, but its situation on the breezy north-facing hillside overlooking the Mediterranean is a principal asset. The site for the new Business School is situated beside the football field in the North east corner of the campus directly accessible from Paris Avenue, a particularly fine corniche defining the shore line and university boundary.
Our design was in the dense pack mode reminiscent of the Casbah, in which emphasis was given to a close proximity between the various parts of the school and an ambiguous relationship between inside and outside. The plan and section exploit natural ventilation, breeze from the shoreline, daylight, protection from the sun and views to the outside. A generous terrace acts as a focus to the various levels of the school and a destination for the ramped entrance sequence. A squat tower, which includes the ‘Harvard lecture rooms’ anchors the project and marks the student entrance.