Offshore Urbanism, Lebanon

Reclaiming the past of Phoenician traders and the present foreigners’ evacuations, we propose a temporary mass exodus of the Lebanese population on prototype barges docked all along the Lebanese coast. These barges once undocked and parked in international waters, not only provide a shelter from aggressions of outside forces, but also provide “social mixers” relieved from entangled war-era, religio-centered, patriarchal constructed boundaries and local laws imbued by its logics.
This proposal calls for an urban evacuation plan that covers the Lebanese territory and the entire population in the case of yet another military conflict. A series of artificial piers, placed along the coastline at the intersections of the littoral highway with the secondary roads from the hinterland, also operate as barges for potential evacuation, providing a new understanding of ‘shelter’.
Offshore urbanism involves a reinterpretation of the program of architecture through shear displacement to International waters where the drape of local constructs is momentarily lifted. The barges host architectural programs that make use of the ‘migration’ aspect of the evacuation to reflect on social issues that are of divisive and controversial nature back ‘home’.
These barges provide a temporary exodus for healing purposes, considering the clinical potential of having a society distressed en masse. Once, the behavioral patterns of the Lebanese patients back home simulate the ones they developed on the barges, the barges become mere capsules of social desires of any repressed society. They migrate to other countries and accumulate more subversive programs while providing temporary shelters, except for their roof gardens/ cemetery; it gets grounded across the littoral.



Principal Architect
Naji Moujaes

Jasmin Behzad
Fumio Hirakawa
Ziad Jamaleddine
Makram el Kadi
Salim al Kadi.