Layal Merhi

Lebanese American University

School of Architecture and Design

P55 | Wanderhome

by Layal Merhi  

Wanderhome is a transition from a war-torn 1930s sector of Beirut to a revived urban center that reunites the people, typologies, and the fabric of the city. It is a home to the wanderer, the child, the adult, the senior citizen, even the stray cats that roam in search of greenery and shelter. The project intends to shed light on the disconnections created by the 15-year civil war and the permanent detachments induced by the rapidly growing infrastructure. The site is an island between two primary transportation routes, the historic road to the Syrian capital and the old route to the airport. The project challenges these barriers and reconnects itself to the solemn neighborhood of Sector 27, while serving as an integral part along the passage from the waterfront to the Beirut forest, recreating the former demarcation line as a place of unity, peace, and longevity. Wanderhome places itself as a landmark in Beirut, using the tower element to signal its presence but also to provide homes to those in flux. Despite the sizable presence of this tower, the dominant part of the project is its smooth horizontal landscape, consisting of a strongly integrated park and supporting functions housed in celebratory spaces.


Layal Merhi is a final year architecture student interested in music, art history, graphic design and photography. She has always been concerned with the “social” and the “urban” and has been involved in several workshops aiming to bring the two concepts together. During the summer of 2010, Layal took part in a painting workshop at Rizk Hospital, Beirut, with the Rowaq Al Balqaa Foundation. The workshop’s aim was to bring back color to the children staying at the hospital, by the means of painting. The following year, Layal joined in Imagination 3, the 3rd of a series of imagination schools organized by Henning Larsen Architects in pursuit to reach the intangible in the city. During a recent visit to Genoa, Italy, Layal participated in an architectural workshop with the Mies Van De Rohe Foundation and was able to work on stitching social fabric through urban interventions. Layal also enjoys painting, food, and travel.