On the occasion of Beirut Design Week 2016 under the theme of Growing Sustainably, an installation on Beirut River was developed on a vacant plot of land nearby KED Building. The installation adopted the same interventions of Beirut River 2.0, a project initiated and supported by theOtherDada, UN-Habitat and LCEC (Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation), to rehabilitate Beirut River and its surrounding neighborhoods using soft landscaped solutions inspired from nature.
Echoing Beirut River 2.0’s project, the installation adopts a bottom-up approach in the implementation of the interventions and relies on translating them into site-specific solutions: rain garden, stormwater management, urban farming, infrastructure improvement and roof as system.
Located in the industrial area of Karantina, the site used to be a parking lot for cattle-transporting trucks, covered with a pile of cow dung and waste, neighboring a derelict building left in squalid conditions. To complete the work on site, external support was summoned through social media to gather volunteers to join in the hands-on work. Around 20 participants were working for 10 consecutive days with a skid loader, a toolbox, gloves and face masks to empty the site from waste and clean the interior of the derelict building.
Four trucks of waste were collected from the site. A truck of soil was used in trenches and excavated depressions to accommodate around 400 species some of which are mosquito repellent plants, edible species, and air purifying plants, while others help in regenerating biodiversity and recreating a hospitable space for pollination. The hard work led to creating an oasis of bio-remediating and native plants breathing life into a barren land. The project was exposed to the public with informative posters hung on metal wires defining a leading path for visitors to roam around the site.
The installation was visited by people from the public and private sectors, architects, urban planners, designers, investors, scouts, activists and environmentalists, all in the hope of finding some of the interventions eventually come to life. For more information, you can follow the links below to access some of the articles with the media’s feedback on the installation.
L’Hôte Libanais: Magazine de voyage – Beirut Design Week ’16: A Look Back, by Florence Massena, Reem Joudi.
L’Orient le Jour: Beirut River 2.0 : comment limiter les dégâts d’un fleuve pollué et polluant, by May Makarem.