The New, Nasty Kid on the Block


Zaha Hadid design for new IFI building

Can you guess what this undefined structure is? Can you guess where it is being built at the moment?

As you read this, The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs is being constructed on The American University of Beirut’s campus and it’s the world famous Zaha Hadid’s design.

According to the IFI page on the AUB website:

“The new, purpose-built IFI building will complete a grouping of five buildings surrounding the Green Oval, which includes Nicely, Jesup, Fisk, and Bliss Halls. It will blend in architecturally and be integrated with the existing open spaces and vegetation, including the landscape of the middle campus. The architects must “meet the challenge of creating a contemporary building in a cherished historical spot.”

Am I the only person who thinks that the architects have not really met that challenge? Am I the only only one who finds this structure totally foreign to its surroundings? How will such a futuristic design “blend in” with buildings that date back to more than a century?

You would expect a talented architect like Hadid who is also an AUB graduate to be eager to preserve AUB’s architectural heritage; but then, it’s not really her fault for presenting a design that’s true to her established style. The question is, why was such a design approved in the first place?



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