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Hi everyone thanks so much for your compliments and glad you liked the piece--for some reason the follow-up comments were not emailed as a notification to my email account.

I hope to post more of my "sneaking in" adventures shortly--as to the method, I think I will keep it secret for now :)
 

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Beirut: everything 4 sale
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Pics of the interior




Proposed extension to the "Grand Theater Hotel"


A ^— ^s
Grand Theatre is a building of historical significance to the city of Beirut. Built in the 1930's, it consisted of a hotel and apartments in addition to the theater itself. The auditorium was a venue for performances of all kinds. Today, after several decades of neglect, it is proposed to revive both the theater and the adjacent building in the form of a hotel and ballroom, under the direction of Solidere.

The Company has given up the idea of restoring Le Grand Theatre des Mille et une Nuits into a significant modern-day theater. This would not be possible without the practical demolition of the building and its reconstruction. Besides, site constraints would make it difficult to achieve a world-class performance stage. However, Solidere was concerned about preserving and honoring the memory of the Grand Theatre. The main facades were restored, with strengthening works to the footings.

The original concept design by Architecture Studio IFrancel, which obtained appmval from the Higher Council for Urbanism in April 2005, offered four floors and five basements: a boutique hotel enjoying a mof swimming pool, restaurants and bars offering artistic performances, and shops at street level below the arcades.

In spring 2009, Solidere envisaged a change in program for the Grand Theatre. Talks with a number of international boutique hotel operator! led to the selection of Fuenso ^ISpain to operate a Solidere brand luxury boutique hotel.

A limited design competition was launched in two stages, in May and August 2009, among four international architecture firms, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners UK, Anouska Hempel Design UK, Moatti et Riviere - France and Architecture Studio - France. As per the Master Plan, a maximum BUA of 11,800 sq m was allowed, with a maximum height of 24 m (ground with mezzanine plus four upper floors).

In October 2009, the competition jury selected Rogers Stirk Ha rbou r + Partners for architectural design, with runner upAnouska Hempel Design to collaborate on space planning and interior desig n, under advice f rom Fuenso ISpainl. Solidere is reviewing with the winning firm the concept design received in March 2010. The design was aLso submitted to the Directorate General for Urbanism ^IDGU^I for approvaL Under best scenario conditions, the project should be delivered end 2013.

CONCEPT

The site occupies the boundary between Beirut historic core and the Ghalghoul sector, the location for several proposals of a more contemporary nature. The design aims to unify these different characters and scales of urban design through the considered use of faithful reconstruction and the introduction of a bold modern intervention.

The ability for the centerpiece of the scheme - the original auditorium - to be employed for public uses, while remaining integral to the hotel proposal is maintained. This will ensure that the cultural significance of the building is not lost.

The new design allows the previous hotel use to colonize the whole of the site, forming a luxury hotel in a prime location within Beirut city center. The proposed accommodation comprises guestrooms and suites, a ballroom (housed within the auditorium), an intimate hammam, severaL restaurants and bars, a rooftop pool. integral gardens and other amenities expected of a luxury hotel.

The hotel proposal centers on dividing the site between historic buildings ^Inorth and eastl and contemporary intervention (south and west) The hotel itself is accessed via the existing Grand Theatre entrance on the northeast, at the corner of Amir Bachir and Syria streets. ALL other uses are accessed fron^1 the southwest, via a new open space on Alexi Boutros Street. This reestablishes the historic passage between the two extant buildings and allows public access via Syria Street.
The historic arcaded street frontage is occupied by retail units, with the intention of animating and populating the site perimeter at its interface with the historic core.

Several massing options were investigated by the architects. The option of pods was selected as the one maximizing views and Light to the guest rooms. Over-sailing the existing building, the pods form a modular system accommodating suites on Lower floors, restaurants and terraces on higher floors. Gaps between them serve for circulation and provide pleasant views and natural Light. The over All massing offers an interesting contrast with the historic core streetwall alignments, and addresses modern neighbors in GhaLghouL.

The plan envisages a series of balanced cantilevered structures in concrete, which minimize the number of Locations where they penetrate the existing building, and ensure that they remain clear of the auditorium and Lobby interiors. This approach creates drama in the form of Large overhanging structures, which provide shading to the gardens below.


Source : Solidere annual report 2009
 

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Smirk4Life
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The Grand Theatre transformed into a luxury hotel by 2013
22-02-2011 | By R.N | source: Anouska Hempel Design
http://www.lecommercedulevant.com/node/18162



Solidere has selected the architecture and design firm, Anouska Hempel Design (London) to transform The Grand Theatre into a luxury hotel.

Anouska Hempel Design announced in a statement that The Grand Theatre, located in Riad el Solh Square in downtown Beirut, will become a hotel comprising 57 suites and will open its doors in 2013.

The firm, in collaboration with Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, is considering adding an extension to the existing building with a view of the historic auditorium.

Contacted by phone, Solidere was not immediately able to give more details about the project.
 

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Solidere - Grand Théâtre - Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partner (UK) and ZAP Ziad Akl & Partners with Annouchka Hempel (UK) for interior design

Didnt see this render here. Courtesy of Solidere.
 

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Son of the cedars
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WOW, i wish if it would have stayed a theatre, but this is better than nothing, it looks good
 

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Smirk4Life
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i think beirut has more than enough hotels and since the tourism sector ist really happy about the situation and hotels more empty than full i think a theater would be much better and would be nearer to the old downtown since it would rebuild the same thing
 

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Intimate litttle theatre

It might have been a good venue for plays, film festivals, or, if the acoustics were up to it, for chamber music or smaller musical events. But the calculation might have been that it would not necessarily be commercially viable.

If so, for it to have remained a theater, it would have needed some kind of foundation or government support. It may still be too early in Lebanon for that to happen given the amount probably required to refurbish the building and then keep it running, and the size of the culturally focused foundations in the country today.

Still, if there had been a consistent national cultural policy, the government could at least have decreed that the building be maintained to whatever minimum required to keep it from falling down, until a foundation or investor of some kind could have stepped in. Who knows, maybe that could have happened sooner rather than later.

But I'd argue that ultimately that goes to the specifications (flaws in the specifications) of the mandate Solidere received...
 
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