Antoine Atallah

American University of Beirut

Department of Architecture and Design

P52 | ARCHITECTURE, ARCHAEOLOGY AND BEIRUT. A new scenario for a dialogue.

by Antoine Atallah 

This project seeks to engage a dialogue between an archaeological landscape, the surrounding city and architectural interventions. The site is located in downtown Beirut, on a hill where the remains of successive historical periods have accumulated. Abandoned, disconnected from the city, this site does not exist on the map of Beirut’s urban practices. The project aims to turn it into a welcoming place, a terrain for new practices, functions, itineraries. It will add a new layer of occupation on its palimpsest of historical layers, among the many crevices created by the archaeological excavations. The buildings are built mostly underground and are placed strategically in the spaces between the tranches, opening at the bottom of them. They create a continuous network of itineraries and functions, a labyrinth between ground and under-ground, between contemporary architecture and ruins of the past. A labyrinth to be explored and discovered, a subterranean city whose expression above ground is made of simple abstract gestures. These gestures act as signs, that indicate that something is happening below ground, while hiding it. The visitors will discover the site, its ruins, its buried buildings, guided by glimpses, by architectural follies dispersed all over the landscape.


Antoine Atallah  graduated in 2011 from the American University of Beirut with a bachelor in architecture and a minor in archaeology. He recently obtained a masters’ in urban design from the École d’Architecture de la Ville et des Territoires (Paris, 2013). He’s currently working as an architect-urbanist at Ateliers Lion, Architectes, Urbanistes, Paysagistes. He works on architectural and urban projects, on all scales of intervention, from the architectural scale to the urban and metropolitan fields. He has a strong inclination toward sociology, history and archaeology. Being concerned about the preservation of urban heritage and social fabrics, he’s involved with the NGO Save Beirut Heritage as an urban consultant. He received the Distinguished Graduate Award and the Best Undergraduate Paper Award for an essay on a neighborhood’s changing built environment and social practices. His final year project, questioning the cohabitation between architecture and the city, was awarded the second prize at the Areen Award Competition.