Ghida Hachicho

American University of Beirut

Department of Architecture and Design

P54 | LOOKING WITHIN. Intervening in the Old Saida Town.

by Ghida Hachicho  

The complex layered city | The city today is an accumulation of intertwined history layers, still altered and added upon. To understand the history of the place, one cannot read the different layers chronologically. To trace sequentially in linear order the events that affected its formation would mean neglecting certain complexities. To intervene, one has to negotiate between the past and the new, siding with neither ruin nor restoration, but establishing a new architecture configuration, where the old and new are in permanent dialogue. Adding by subtracting | By cutting across the layered fabric, linearity of time dissolves, and the complexity of history is exposed. The linear cut across this labyrinthine space is not only a reading across history; it also allows the new layer of intervention to come from within, strengthening the dialogue between the old and new. The Subtraction also acts as a specific solution for certain problems. Suddenly light and wind replace darkness and dampness, failing structures are freed and the inaccessible becomes reachable. The site of intervention | When the new highway was created, the site was prohibited from its continuation to the sea. This is where the subtraction starts, enhancing the connection between the old and new Saida. The program | The subtraction cuts through the mosque creating a public entrance through the most sacred on site. Then it cuts across the residential units opening them unto each other, they become the public library.


Ghida Hachicho  is a recent graduate in architecture from the American University of Beirut. Her work is mostly influenced by the idea of accumulation of time, and its effects on materials, earth, body and culture. She tries to draw inspiration from the richness and poetics of this accumulation in the Middle Eastern culture, always reinterpreting according to a new history and time. She recently won the Deans Award for Creative Achievement and The AREEN Project Award of Excellence in Architecture from the American University of Beirut. Ghida is also a recent winner of the Omrania, CSBE Student Award 2012 and took part in the Archiprix International USA 2011, the worldwide biennial presentation of the world's best graduation projects of architecture.