The Niemeyer Guest House Renovation / East Architecture Studio
Text description provided by the architects. Tripoli is a coastal city located North of Lebanon, historically and culturally associated with its pioneering woodcraft industry. Since 2010, the sector has undergone a dramatic deterioration, fueled by political unrest coupled with a growing emergence of low-cost imported furniture.
Tripoli is also home to the Rachid Karami International Fair designed by Oscar Niemeyer in the early sixties. The construction of the Fair was halted by the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, and unfortunately never fully operated as such.
The renovated Guest House at the Rachid Karami International Fair, now serving as an integrated design platform is a single-storey structure, located at the south western edge of the Fair’s main entrance. The 2500 sq.m ground floor sits on top of a partial basement.
Overwhelmingly opaque in appearance, the Guest House surprises with its light-flooded interior space, an open floor plan punctured by a central courtyard. Its floating roof, seemingly ornamental, sits on four columns and renders the ‘horizontal’ space beneath abstract. Fair-faced concrete dominates the Guest House inside out, however, the deliberate use of stone on some internal walls, an uncommon practice in Niemeyer’s work, introduces a sense of vernacular to the inside.
We were asked to meddle with a fundamentally introverted building.
Our intervention naturally took into account the above-mentioned features, deliberately revealing and most importantly enhancing the “DNA” that composes the structure. The expansive