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Byblos, Lebanon

135,000 SF

Completion expected 2018

Targeting LEED Platinum


The city of Byblos, believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The Lebanese American University commissioned the studio to design a new library and a new central administration building on a previously excavated site on its Byblos Campus. This sustainable state-of-the-art new complex is driven by LAU's strategic plan to propel the institution into the limelight within leading American Universities in the region and in the world.


Byblos is the place of the earliest Phoenician inscriptions, dating from 11th century BC. The Phoenicians, as the greatest ancient world seafarers and traders, understood the importance of an efficient and global communication system.


Inspired by the Phoenicians' dynamic spirit, we expressed the concept of connectivity and communication. Our design extends beyond the client initial request by adding an amphitheater nestled into the strikingly unorthodox site, facing southwest from an excavated mountain, whose rock fragments inform the building volumes rotated to generate space and shade. Leveraging the difference in levels between the Campus and the excavated site, we composed the amphitheater using the exposed sedimentary rock as a backdrop that reveals the stratification of time. The exterior space will be used by the students for performances, to gather, to sit alone or in groups.

The open steps will connect the Net Café and the Gallery spaces to the Campus Green.

Passive design features inspired from the local typology are incorporated into the design: the open space between the two buildings allows the prevailing winds from the southwest to ventilate the amphitheater.

Selected Publications/Exhibits


Phoenicians inspire new LAU Byblos Library - LAU magazine Summer 2015


Integrale Konzepte: Library, Byblos, Lebanon - Bauen im Kultur – und Klimawandel (Building the Culture and Climate Change) by Ulrich Pfammatter (v/d/f Verlag © 2012)


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


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