Streets and public spaces are revived via different kinds of festivals. Graffiti, visual arts, theater, `music, audio-visual; all these multidisciplinary artistic practices are exposed in the streets – outside the walls of institutions, and are intended directly to the public: that’s street art

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

New cultural and musical performances emerged from major capital cities to animate the social relations and the political life in the urban space.

Street art center – Gemmayzeh, Lebanon

It is the fusion between the principles of ‘the street’ and the ‘institution’ while preserving the specificity of ‘street art’:

– Reaching out to the public, of all ages and backgrounds             
– Investing and entertaining urban space
– initiating gatherings focusing on art and culture
– Participating in the democratization of culture

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

All that matters is the idea of ​​being different and original. And this idea has led these artists to get released from the institutions and expose their art in the urban space.

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

The street is the founding element of the artistic procedures in ‘street art’:

Inspirational source for artists
Street artists look for signs of inspiration by observing the daily urban life

Support for the artistic creations
Street artists invades the urban space by exposing their art work on its constituents.

Place for sensorial interaction

Their art can only be achieved by a successful interaction with the people in the public space.

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

 The concept of the project was based on psychological studies of street artists’ thoughts. Their relationship with the city, its people and its political sociological and economic phenomena, affect their thinking, the subject and the exposure of their artwork.

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

– The revolution against wrong and injustice in society

– Defending the urban space, which for them is transformed into a private space for themselves and their art exhibition
– Giving a value to the urban space through art
-Interacting with the population and observing the daily life of residents and passers-by even in working times.

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

The continuing evolution of street art in the Lebanese capital has transformed its alleyways into workshops and its urban space into an open-air museum. That’s why I implanted the project in Gemmayzeh, the artists’ district that makes part of the territory of the city of Beirut – the home of art and culture.

Cette région offre un visage contrasté du point de vue logement, mais montre nettement d’un autre coté que ce secteur, contigu au centre-ville, est encore fortement consacré aux activités.                          Helmut Ruppert

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

Helmut Ruppert says that this region offers a new aspect to the city concerning its housing. Besides it clearly shows that this area, adjacent to the down town, is strongly devoted to activities.

The Gemmayzeh district is characterized by its traditional aspect and its sloping morphology hence the high number of ramps and stairs. It is known for the annual art festival on the stairs of ‘St. Nicolas’ which gave it an artistic spirit (arts events – illustrations on the walls and stairs -inauguration of several art galleries).

To support and preserve the artistic essence of Gemmayzeh district and the city of Beirut, a supportive intervention and assistance to the artists are required.

Creating an incubator that reunite all art forms that belongs to the streets is the goal of this project, a cradle initiating in Lebanon a network of arts centers.

This incubator has three main tasks: creation, knowledge transfer and diffusion

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

The site:

The site is limited by two main roads and a side street. Its relation with the two main streets and its irregular form were helpful for the development of the concept.

area:  7400 m2.

slope:  7%.

Problematic :How to create a street art center while preserving their originality? What are the main features of an incubator of street art?

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

The concept: Invite the arts into the city and the city into the art; create opportunities for a new hybrid cultural and social life, beyond the context of the ordinary definition of the city.

Some elements of the project that ensure the interaction between artists-population:

– Connecting the two main streets (Gouraud Street and Pasteur Street) and the creation of a public space allow the injection of art in the city and urban life in the project

– Arranging the urban space as a multi-functional area: a location for performance, exhibition and a gathering space for all the citizens, passers and artists.

-Insertion of an ‘interactive band ‘creating a node around the urban space. This element has three main functions:
    1. an internal exposition alley

    2. An alley to visit the working spaces and artists’ learning zones ensuring the interaction   between artists and society even inside the center

    3. A gallery to watch the events in the urban space

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

Concerning the volume:

Rem koolhaas said ‘fuck the context’. The artificial production of identity, developed independently, without a connection to the local history and culture tends to generalize.

I aimed to create an attractive element in the urban space, as well as street art. The originality of street art is translated by the modern aspect of the project that diverges from the traditional context of Gemmayzeh district.
– The node created around the urban space by the ‘interactive band’ represents the invasion of urban space by street artists
– The volumes give the impression of embracing and defending the urban space.
– These dynamic forms reveal the emotions and feelings of the visitors as if they contemplate a piece of art.
– The rising volumes form the side of Gouraud district to Pasteur district symbolizes the mission of street artists who seek to provide an urban artistic revival proceeding from the urban base to the extraordinary. It’s the act of externalization.

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Courtesy of Jennifer Saad

Assimilation to the urban fabric:

– Alignment with the street according to the standards of construction at Gemmayzeh district.
– The creation of a dynamic space that fits the nature of the territory and reminds us of the morphology of the territory of Gemmayzeh introducing stairs and ramps in the landscaping.

Project: Street art center

Designer: Jennifer Saad

School: Lebanese university – institute of fine arts II (Furn el shebbak – Lebanon)

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