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#COMPLETED-Beirut: "Charles W. Hostler Student Center" (AUB)

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Charles W. Hostler Student Center

American University of Beirut

Beirut, Lebanon

Dedication ceremony for the Charles W. Hostler Student Center

Hostler, Waterbury and Morris cut the ribbon for the nearly-complete Hostler Center
The dedication ceremony for the Charles W. Hostler Student Center, which is expected to open for use during the fall, was held on May 3 at the center's brand-new auditorium. Hostler was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree of humane letters for his contribution to AUB. Welcomed with cheerful applause by students in their red-and-black athletic gear, AUB faculty and board members arrived at the ceremony clad in their academic regalia for a ceremony that included speeches, Lebanese music sung by the AUB choir and a power-point presentation showing the various stages in the center's construction process.

Students welcome Hostler & his wife, Chin-Yeh Rose, along with Board of Trustee member Ali Ghandour
"What Charles Hostler has done for AUB, embodied here in the nearly-completed Hostler Student Center, will be a gift to the generations of AUB students and an enormous stride toward realizing the dream of [AUB founder] Daniel Bliss, inspired by our common classical heritage from neighboring Greece. It is the concept of a sound mind in a sound body. The Hostler Center will serve both goals," said AUB President John Waterbury, at the ceremony. Named after former ambassador and alumnus Charles W. Hostler, the student center will include health and fitness facilities as well as an indoor swimming pool, a multi-use gymnasium, student activity rooms, a refurbished Green Field, a 300-seat auditorium, a cafe) and an underground parking for around 200 cars. Moreover, the building boasts an impressive environment-friendly design that minimizes heat and cooling needs, recycles water and uses energy-efficient lighting. Solar panels will also be used to heat the indoor swimming pool and hot water, while a green plant cover on the roofs as well as landscaped vegetation will keep the entire area cool during hot summer days.
The construction of the ultra-modern student center was made possible because of Hostler's $11.7 million gift, the second largest single grant ever made to the University. Hostler, who lived in Lebanon for a total of nine years between 1953 and 1967, holds the country and the University dear to his heart and has always dreamt of building a student center for the University. "The dedication of the Hostler Student Center is a fulfillment of my longtime dream," said Hostler, during the dedication ceremony.

President Waterbury awards Hostler an honorary doctorate of humane letters
Hostler recalled how his days at AUB as a graduate student of international relations [1953-1955], following his military service in Europe, helped shape his understanding of the world and the Middle East. "During my two years as a student here at AUB, I was able to learn about Middle Eastern life and culture in a way that would never have been possible had I studied only in the United States," he said, noting that AUB's non-sectarian philosophy had served as a guiding principle in all his duties in the Middle East. "This University transformed my life in so many ways and opened my eyes to the wider world. I hope my act of appreciation will inspire others to consider what they can do to help." A self-made man who struggled, along with his family, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, Hostler had to sell newspapers at the age of 13, while still at school, in order to get through. He also served in the U.S. army during World War II and worked as a diplomat and businessman before finally amassing enough wealth to allow him to turn into a philanthropist.

Seniors Carl Geahchan and Nadine Schtakleff give Hostler plaque of appreciation
Indeed, Hostler was active in non-profit organizations and civic and educational causes since he always believed that cultural exchange is an excellent way to achieve peace in the world. Speakers at the dedication ceremony, whether it was AUB Chairman of the Board of Trustees Thomas Morris, AUB President John Waterbury, Hostler Center design architect Vincent James or Vice President of Facilities all praised Hostler's generous gift and philanthropy, thanking him for providing them with the opportunity to build a student center at AUB. A host of AUB and non-AUB officials attended the ceremony, including former AUB presidents David Dodge and Frederic Herter, as well as former ministers Karam Karam and Ghazi Yussef, and several members of the board of trustees as well as faculty, staff and students. Students from the Athletic Department offered Hostler and his wife an award and a bouquet of flowers in appreciation. Following the ceremony and ribbon cutting, guests were given a tour of the almost-complete center.

When the architects (Vincent James) won the competition, the AUB News Highlights writeup made it seem very interesting:

…Our design, (the architects) wrote, "is based on the belief that the best surfaces for socializing and learning are to be found at the intersection of architecture, climate, and behavior. The project is as much about human behavior, collegiate life, and even politics, as it is about questions of architectural form...."

…The winning architects challenged the Master Plan's portrayal of the Hostler Center as a large, single-building entity, and instead, created a design for six separate buildings within "a system of passageways, programs, and gardens," all planned with reference to prevailing wind conditions, summer and winter temperatures, and energy and water conservation. Most roofs feature extensive plantings for the reduction of heat gain and the preservation of rainwater for future landscaping use…

The renderings on Vincent James Associates’ site are intriguing, but it will be very interesting to see photos (anyone!) of what the effect of the planted roofs and broken up mass of the buildings will be, looking down from the upper campus.

It will also be interesting to see what the effect on the Corniche will be. The building, along with the Business School building across the Green Field, is always described as being an attempt to “dress up” the AUB’s Corniche front.

Link to the latest update on the project on Vincent James’ site:

If anyone’s been by and give us a sense of how the project’s going it will make at least one displaced Beiruti very happy!
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Some old pics I took last summer from the Corniche. (14th of May, 2006)

Here are some pics I took from the upper campus.


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That soccer field or Green Field will be there as soon as the surrounding constructions finish.
^^ Such a refreshing sight!

Is construction complete or near completion?
^^I don't think it's completed ; look at the stairs on the right side..
^^ Such a refreshing sight!

Is construction complete or near completion?
It is completed
March 3 2008

Courtesy of Shadia Fayne

Is this the business center on the right?
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Should be several buidlings, and roofs should be 'green'

If the article quoted was correct, the center is actually six buildings or at least six volumes, breaking up the mass of what would have been one large one. It will be interesting to see the complex as a whole, if anyone manages to get a good angle for a photo.
Another thing about the complex is that the roofs are supposed to feature "extensive plantings". This is supposed to be the first, or one of the first, Beirut buildings with green roofs to reduce heat gain.
I wonder if they still plan on that, or if they've dropped it?
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"I'm pleased to announce that the Charles W. Hostler Student Center (CHSC) will open some of its facilities for use on Friday, May 23, 2008 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m."

So this is part of the message they sent to AUB students. Finally they will open some of the facilities, and others in the near future.

Here is a photo gallery.

And another gallery showing the facilities.
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^^ Did they demolish the original locker rooms, etc that were there? (when you enter the gate from the corniche I think it's the building on the right side?)
Well, it is a bit hart to explain what happened but let me briefly give you an idea.

In the past, AUB used to have four entrances on the Corniche.

1. The entrance near the IC School building, now that gate is called Sea Gate.
2. The main parking entrance. (Currently disused)
3. Right in front of the AUB Beach. (Currently disused)
4. Behind what is now Al Tazaj or Horizon Tower. This is the Women's Dorm Gate.

As you may have noticed, only gates 1 and 4 were used until recently when they opened Charles Hostler Center's underground parking for faculty members.

The gate you are talking about was the one numbered 3. There used to be indoor basketball courts. They are all demolished now and the new topped out Business Center lies on that location.
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I didnt expect it to look like this ! , its so state of the art and modern !
I'll love to walk around that area.
Looks really beautiful

Love the way they broke it up into several buildings - much more interesting to have various courtyards and passageways than one huge monolithic mass.

Would love to see how it looks from the Corniche. The Master Plan mentions that one of the goals of the Hostler Center and Business School designs was to remold the Corniche edge of the campus...

Would also love to see whether they plan to go ahead with the 'extensive plantings' on the roof tops. I'd love to see that, both for the environmental benefit, and for the view from the upper campus...
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Absolutely stunning project, the simplicty of the design, the generous nature of its design in terms of pedestrian access/enjoyment and its clean lines all come together to create a great atmosphere.

I completely agree "ainmreisiot" that the rooftop plantings would be highly
beneficial in terms the environment and the view, and would top off this great project.
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June 16 2008

Courtesy of glowheed

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Environmental Features

From the AUB site:

The numerous sustainability applications of the Charles Hostler Student Center include:

- Roof integrated solar collectors for hot water and swimming pool heating
- Radiant slab cooling system
- Floor heating system
- High efficiency chilled water generation plant using sea water wells for system cooling
- High efficiency air handling units with Heat Recovery systems
- Conservation of energy through digital building management system
- High building insulation on all external walls and ceilings
- Conservation of energy through digital building management system
- Zone energy consumption metering
- Low emission glazing (energy conservation and lower UV transmission)
- External radiant and evaporative cooling by Water Walls
- Natural wind forced ventilation
- Energy efficient light fixtures
- Interior Daylight
- Building volume-distribution creating local microclimate
- Grey water collection, treatment and reuse in the same project
- Low potable water consumption fixtures
- Standby rain water collection system
- Zone Water consumption metering
- Water-efficient landscaping using non potable water
- Use of non-potable water for toilet flushing and urinals
- Completely non-irrigated Green Field (major conservation on water consumption)
- No use of high Ozone Depleting and/or Global Warming potential refrigerants as per Montreal Protocol and LEED requirements
- Reduce heat - island - effect by utilizing underground parking, green roofs, vegetated landscape and selection of appropriate pavement materials
- Interior views to external areas
- Maximized open spaces
- Excavation "construction waste" diverted from disposal /land fills
- Public transportation access
- No use of any toxic construction materials
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