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LAU Jbeil Campus, Lebanon

88,000 SF Library/Gallery/ Administration Complex with 47,000 SF Landscaped Grounds

Passive Design Features and Green Energy


IBC and ADA compliant

Completed 2019

Believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, the city of Jbeil (Byblos) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Lebanese American University commissioned APT to design two new buildings: a new library and a central administration on a previously excavated site on its Jbeil Campus. This sustainable state-of-the-art-new complex is part of LAU’s strategic plan to compete with leading American Universities in the region and the world. 


Byblos, the root for “bibliotheke” or library, is the location of the earliest Phoenician inscriptions. The creation and the transmission of the first phonetic alphabet happened approximately 3,000 years ago, and it is just as relevant today. Technology is constantly enhancing and shaping the way we communicate with each other. 


The library and the administration buildings are conceived as dynamic forms, evoking the complex and layered history of the region.

Both buildings bend toward each other, forming a welcoming entrance space and an open amphitheater with the exposed sedimentary rock acting as a backdrop.

The buildings’ exterior skin is progressively layered, providing a shading system according to the orientation.

The overall architectural strategy maximizes diffused daylight inside, extends visual continuity inside/outside and forms fluid and flexible spaces within the buildings.

Connectivity is expressed in the exterior spaces flowing seamlessly inside, while the interior spaces reinforce fluidity and communication through transparency and openness of the study/work areas, and the many possibilities of chance encounters along the open staircase progression, the lounge corners and the café.


The offices in the Central Administration are shared by the users and a communal meeting space, facing the main campus, is positioned at the end of the ample corridor that acts as an impromptu meeting spot.


The Gallery spaces at the ground and lower floors are illuminated with northern light and are part of the fully accessible public space sequence of the two new buildings.


The carved letters on the concrete wall overlooking the amphitheater represent four alphabets used historically through the region: Phoenician, Greek, Latin, and Arabic.


Passive features inspired from the local typology are incorporated into the design: the double skin offers external legibility and internal protection by ventilating the façade and diffusing natural light, while the library open atrium functions as a passive chimney vent.

The resilient and sustainable features include abundant diffused daylight inside; natural ventilation; views to the campus and exposed rock; use of renewable and recycled materials; water conservation and gray-water use; energy conservation of lighting, ventilation and AC systems; renewable solar energy, and native plants in the landscape,


The library of the 21st century creates synergy among scholarly activities and social life, while providing common ground for diverse student activities and forms of information: a safe place for exchange, communication, learning, and understanding.


APT ARCHITECTURE (Pagnamenta Torriani) is the design architect for the project, and RELK&P are the Consulting Engineers/Architects of Record.


Selected Publications/Exhibits 

INTERNATIONAL PANORAMA, Vol 1, Art & Architecture Editions, The Plan - 2020

The PLAN magazine - July 27, 2020

AIANY New York/New World group exhibit – New York, NY - October 2013 

AIANY CHANGE: Architecture and Engineering in the Middle East, 2000-Present group exhibit – New York, NY – February 2012

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