Winners of Inspireli's Beirut Port Competition Announced

John Hill
13. September 2022
The winners of the Inspireli Beirut Port Renewal Competition visiting the site of the 2020 port explosion. (All images courtesy of Inspireli Awards)

Roughly 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of Beirut exploded on August 4, 2020, killing more than 200 people and destroying or damaging around 80,000 homes. The initial reactions of architects were generous, with some of them, for instance, donating drawings, models, and other works to raise money to help the community rebuild. 

But large-scale rebuilding of the port and the surrounding community requires vision in addition to the expected involvement of city and state agencies, international contractors, and other companies vying to be part of the process. So in the spring of 2021 the Inspireli Awards organized the international Beirut Port Competition, inviting students to rethink the port of Beirut through innovative design proposals. Architecture schools were asked to hold studios in fall 2021 and spring 2022 and then submit the projects in the summer of this year. Inspireli Awards would donate some of the projects to the city of Beirut, ideally influencing the Port administration and the Ministry of Public Work and Transportation in its process of rebuilding the port.

The remains of the massive silos damaged in the 2020 port explosion in Beirut.

Ultimately, architecture schools from a few-dozen countries around the world submitted 249 projects authored by 579 students. (All of the projects, it should be noted, were submitted without a fee, unlike most architectural student competitions.) Per a statement from Inspireli Awards, a two-round voting system with more than 800 jurors — that's not a typo! — selected 40 finalists last month, from which four winners and four honorable mentions were selected. A ceremony was held at the Sursock Museum in Beirut on September 8. The four winners — two first place, a third place, and a fourth place — are highlighted below, with relevant links to the Inspireli Awards website for reading more about the winning projects and seeing more visuals of them. Congratulations to all the winners!

The winners and Inspireli Awards team at the Sursock Museum in Beirut during the awards ceremony on September 8, 2022.

The Winners

First Place (International):

The Beirut Lines
Chee Kin Tan and Jennifer Wei Zhang (Malaysia and China)
Tsinghua University

"The Beirut Lines envisions a bold elevated public hub, connecting four urban axes of the city and bridging across the existing urban fabric from the northern coastline towards the Green Line – an intervention designed to create a new urban culture, inspiring wider regeneration and synthesis on an urban and social level."

First Place (International): The Beirut Lines by Chee Kin Tan and Jennifer Wei Zhang (Malaysia and China) from Tsinghua University

First Place (Lebanese):

Beirut Port: An Urban Life Generator
Sergio Zgheib, Peter Aoun, Julien Mikhayel, Nour Kreidy, Rita Abi Zeid, Lea Lahoud and Thea Bechara (Lebanon)
Lebanese University

"The aim of 'Beirut Port: An Urban Life Generator' is to convert Beirut Port from an industrial barrier to an urban connector."

First Place (Lebanese): Beirut Port: An Urban Life Generator by Sergio Zgheib, Peter Aoun, Julien Mikhayel, Nour Kreidy, Rita Abi Zeid, Lea Lahoud and Thea Bechara (Lebanon) from Lebanese University

Second Place:

BEIRUT PORT
Růžena Mašková, Jakub Tomašík, Adam Rössler (Czech Republic)
Czech Technical University

"The subject of the design is a residential high-rise building in the port of Beirut. The design is based on an architectural and urban study, which was prepared as part of a[n] undergraduate project. It is a revitalization of the area destroyed by the 2020 explosion."

Second Place: BEIRUT PORT by Růžena Mašková, Jakub Tomašík, Adam Rössler (Czech Republic) from Czech Technical University

Third Place:

Port of Beirut: Public re-claimation of the waterfront
Ruben Epping (Germany)
Lund University

"The proposed port district consists of several public zones as well as residential neighborhoods. It extends the city center and connects the city to the sea. Overall it has a pedestrian focus and restricts car access to selected streets and underground parking units, leaving the public spaces, residential areas and the waterfront mostly car free."

Third Place: Port of Beirut: Public re-claimation of the waterfront by Ruben Epping (Germany) from Lund University

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