Marina Towers

Beirut, Lebanon Marina Towers S.A.R.L. Jean-Louis Mainguy, Interior Designer Residential 570,000 ft2 / 53,000 m2 2006 MIPIM Award Finalist - Residential Development Category

Marina Towers is a luxury 150m residential tower in the centre of Beirut. It forms an important part of the ambitious masterplan for the rebuilding of the city centre, which is being developed by Solidere, the governmental agency responsible for the scheme.

The design is a symbol of the confluence of the sea and land at this site where Beirut first began. The concave shape echoes the form of the harbour that the building overlooks. The fluid form of the top, appearing to have been caught in the wind, creates a vibrant dynamic composition, a powerful gathering from the sea to the city.

The principal factor in the design is the optimisation of views to the sea and harbour for all tenants. The orientation of the apartment tower is therefore set on the radial axis of the harbour, emphasizing its vital link with the Beirut Western Marina. The crescent shape of the apartment plan of this waterfront development brings forward the corner living areas to provide dramatic panoramas to the sea, the mountains, the Beirut Central District Park and the Marina.

The design uses an ingenious stacking of spaces so that the living areas, which are large and open, are 5.5 meters high, while the bedrooms, more compact in plan, are 3.4 meters high. For privacy and security, the plan features elevator lifts leading to private vestibules with views directly to the sea.

The tower, along with a low-rise garden building, frames a private garden court which is raised above the street and is part of the tradition of lush gardens throughout Beirut. The courtyard is sheltered by a grove of shady trees and cooled by running fountains.

The key to the environmental strategy is based on orientation of the crescent-shaped residential tower. The building plans were studied in relation to the urban context. The main views from the living areas of the tower’s apartments are northward to the sea. Cantilevered balconies act as brise-soleil to open up and extend the living spaces, drawing in spectacular views and cooling evening breezes, which help maintain the energy profile of the building. The South side of the building, with views of the city, is shielded by deep horizontal cantilevered balconies, which provide excellent shading when the sun reaches its apex at the hottest time of the day. The south-facing bedrooms include both vision and marble faced panels to further reduce heat gain and ensure the occupants’ privacy. Double glazing has also been used to further reduce heat gain and to provide excellent sound insulation on the south-facing façade. The façade wraps itself around the building and culminates in an extended sail at the top of the building. The sail not only provides a dynamic urban silhouette, but mitigates the coastal winds to allow year-round occupation of the roof levels by penthouse owners.

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