Ramzi Naja

Lebanese American University

School of Architecture and Design

P56 | BEIRUT DATA PLATFORM. The new library in dialogue with the city.

by Ramzi Naja  

Beirut has endured four decades without a public library and with almost no understanding of what a public space can mean be for the city dweller. The Beirut Data Platform intends to change the status quo while also challenging the very typology of what we call a library today. The project is essentially a lounge of public space flowing between interior and exterior on the ground level, climbing upon ‘boxes’ that house the sacred information. The translucent facade of the tower appears as a tent, tying down the vaults of data that are struggling to break free in an age where the physical presence of information has been nullified. Climbing the tower is a journey, happening via escalators placed in a tight tube, or through lifts that are present as free standing elements, dark boxes that in a sense mimic time travel. All at once, the roof top of ‘the lounge’ itself climbs up to break into the tower and make its way into the boxes that store the nation’s long endangered collections. The project is placed in a critical site such that it traverses the former ‘green line,’ which was the theater of the Lebanese civil war’s fiercest battles. The project turns its back to the highway, creating a lively piazza that together with the tower -a bright light by night- enlivens the city from its capillaries and brings the suburbs back into the city center.


Ramzi Naja is a final year architecture student interested in furniture design, architectural journalism, aviation, and photography. He splits his time between his work at Polypod, an award winning studio in Hamra, and his continuing education through workshops and personal research. Ramzi has written for Archileb.com, the Lebanese Architecture Portal, ArchDaily, and a number of school periodicals. He also manages Atelier Mobile, a group organizing international design and build workshops that revitalize public spaces. He has had his projects displayed in a number of exhibitions and has been awarded for his work. Ramzi has a keen interest in public space and its relationship with the rapidly emerging technologies of the 21st century, always wondering how architecture is reinterpreted on every new day.