Monday, October 12, 2009

beirut souks

first things first

second things whenever..

what developers don't get, i think - is that city centers are not developed in incubators of intellectual restriction - on the contrary, they grow into centers, to inflate and resurrect simultaneously.

the concept of {let's rebuild the old souks} just doesn't get processed in my little head. i am not interested to be categorized within the cult of anti-solidere, on the contrary...especially that now - i live on its periphery, "downtown beirut" is one of the most intriguing pseudo-urban slices you can find. i like the place, now that i stopped reading what people thought of it and who cried because of it. life is cruel, architects are monsters and investors are imposters to our lives, ok - but this is the only way that it could have happened - fullstop, shall we?

we as people living in beirut have learned to - ok, pause rewind, pause fastforward, zoom in - zoom out, chill - denial denial, melancholize...etcetera and so on, except here. the downtown that was molested by its own people was claimed private land by other people, who designed their fairytale --- -- its wierd, its fucked up - but it's beirut. recall forbidden cities, a.k.a southern suburbs of the beirut / recall the silk road, a.k.a hariri qoraitem residence / recall spears traffic, a.k.a barbar..but we all still go eat there and park like fuckiots / recall{{ I <3> }} a.ka. we wanna get drunk even if these rent-paying-aboriginals can't sleep to get up to go to work bukra..and yes we do like it.

people, get over yourselves, but i have a fundamental issue with solidere still, issues, not one actually - but majorly, the abuse of potential. take the souks for example - i do not understand what the input was to start out with, thus to me the architecture is invalid.

was it built on crumbs of ''collective memory'' ? if so, than mr.moneo must have been out of the game, giving the job to a lebanese architect with minimum requirements of..teta having a glass of fresh juice at the old souk .. at least then, he would have part of these memories in his make-up that this project would start to make quasi-sense.

was it build on traces of the old souk? if so - then how? aesthetic traces ... but then, it mimics an image - not a typology. .. it resembles a possible ambiance but tagtails it - dangerous, i think, because it tagtails something extinct. progressive architecture is an element in the production of any city center, ms/mr solidere... what is happening now? i am not against learning from the idea of the souq - but the souq is not about the flip-flop curves and possible archades, it looked as such because that was their once-contemporary building technique...let me make me some coffee as you tell me about the contemporari-ness of this bulk of a mall, we call a souk..4,3,2,1..

i was born in tripoli, i lost myself in tripoli, and yes - there, the souk still exists - i know what a souk is, not as an archi-fart, but as a person, that used it for a while - and this beirut reminisce does not remind me of a souk - i cannot use it as one, it is too blank, too bleh - too diagonally tiled that it angers me even..potential..potential...lost potential.

the entabli fountain, yay!! ok - now what? casper and gambini's next to it? donc, the casper fountain..maybe in a couple of years -
how can i stumble upon this souq without using the intended circulation? how can i hide there..make-out there..get lost there - maybe play hide and seek..maybe seek sounds i need,
D&G? you can not be serious.

i feel like a preacher now, and i will not continue, before someone pacifies me with the i will stop, my only hope being the big plant pots to sit on - without the king's guards of the holy souk come to tell me to ..shooo..shooo peasant


ramie said...

Hey there.
You seem to make a very good point, but if i may clarify that if solidere hasn't re-build downtown, the place might have still been a dump or whatever form of land mutation.
okay . they might have done some pretty fucked up job, by making it so european.but would you prefer it to be like sabra ?we need a good facade for the country man.
bikafii living in shitholes and turning the place in one big fucking dumpster. we need downtown. enough chaos . a little bit of good urban planning isn't harmful

رأفت said...

i totally agree, i also mentioned this in my post - but it is vital to have a critical backdrop to whatever is going on -
the platform of Solidere's brainstorming and urban design must be widened to encompass more eclectic points of view maybe to start thinking of 'building' as opposed to 're-building' as an enzymatic concept

Yasmina said...


Sara said...

It's really stupid to think that if solidere hasn't played the savior dowtown would have remained a dump. definitely something would have happened some kind of reviving it didnt have to privatized to become part of the urban farbric and come to think its not even part of it, its only part of the upper class, snobbish richy rich Lebanese. I think Hamra/saida/tripoli/jemayze/cornich... serve as better facades to this country than downtown.. sorry it might have some beauty in it but i always feel like a fucking intruder when im it how is that when it is supposed to be the center of beirut the center of my country.. although i haven't seen the souks yet but i feel from ur vivid description raafat that they are another upper class venue, and its reallly sad... No offense to anyone. i think raafat that the building part would have come if it was left for the spontaneity of each owner not to the lost memory solidere is trying to reclaim or revive, honestly i don't know what they are doing maybe make some profit.. probably i would like to see moneo's project but the part of the security/peasant part or the imposed solidere image on it makes me hesitant to go there.

ramie said...

in reply to sara:
do you really want tripoli or saida as the facade of this country,
that would be splendid to have an Islamic fanaticism image which we are trying everyday to prove wrong.
read history,if these cities are still as they were in the old days of Phoenicia along with byblos and tyre when lebanon was the center of civilization, then i would agree.but now no.
if downtown wasnt privatized by solidere,it would have been another shit hole.
and a very clear in downtown itself.the only thing solidere is not responsible of is the public spaces and roads. and go see how shitty these roads have become. because its not privatized.
thank you for your time.

Sara said...

im sorry ramie but i cant remember how byblos was during the Phoenicians so i dont have a clear image of what u want out of lebanon except the one we were fed during our history classes and to that image i dont even relate. its sad to see that we still try to crave for a period that passed thousands of years instead of trying to make use of the one we are in. Concerning the roads in downtown dont be so sad every country in the world suffers from those problems i live in Seattle and the roads are always in need of maintenance that is because cars are driving on them 24/7. U depict saida and tripoli as those Fanatic Islamic cities while i see tuorists enjoying the urban life in them more than the fabricated downtown of ours, lets forget tourists honestly there's more life and purity to those cities than downtown, i like to be bumped by baya3 el ka3k aw baya3 el fstou2, not go into patchi to fulfill my craving for a piece of chocolate.Religion is everywhere, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and they have there share in fabricating cities in a good and bad way... Unfortunately i dont see that image of islam taking over siada or tripoli, cz as there are Islamic zealots there are on the other side people that are balanced such as raafat for say and together they create a balanced image of this city. Remember no matter how much hands try to fabricate a city the way they want, there always things that go out of hand and tend to create the most magnificent situations...

Sara said...

No offense to the Phoenician Era..

ramie said...

thank you sara for great reply.
i would love to debate you on the points you made but i will end it here.