Beirut, Lebanon | 2001-2008 | On hold
The ‘Shoreline Walk’ links four new spaces: All Saints Square, Shoreline Gardens, Zeytouneh Square, and Santiyeh Garden. It is placed between the natural topography of the rationalised medieval street layout and the engineered grid of the new landfill. It re-establishes an East-West connection in the city and allows for visual connections to the key monuments within the city and beyond. The route acts as a guide, revealing elements of the changing historical coastline and acting as a connective spine. It helps shape the new character and dynamism of a city that is shared by people of different faiths and cultures.
The promenade is inspired by the historic Corniche; this wide palm-lined sidewalk followed the Beirut coastline from the city centre to the public beach to the west. In a city with few parks and squares. It has become a popular open space with a constant flow of walkers, joggers, cyclists, bread sellers and wedding parties, watched by coffee drinkers and fishermen. The Shoreline Walk restores the city centre’s connection to the Corniche which was lost during the Civil War.
A narrow white line of limestone paving marks the route of the old Shoreline through the spaces, crossing roads and linking All Saints Square to Santiyeh Gardens. To the south of the ‘white line’, sandy limestone paving signifies the historic areas of land, including the new Corniche Al Manara which connects to Santiyeh Gardens and the new Souks.
To the north of the line, dark granite surfacing marks the previous areas of the sea. In contrast to the other spaces, Zeytouneh Square and Santiyeh Gardens are always set inland from the coastline. This is evident in the relatively steep topography of the two sites. The palette of materials is maintained within these spaces but a change in the configuration of the surface materials illustrates a distinction from the coastline edge.
Shoreline Walk is marked by a double avenue of Royal Cuban Palms (Roystonia regia). Commencing at All Saints Square in the west and continuing all the way to Santiyeh Gardens, it recalls the original palms of the Avenue des Francais. The Royal Cuban Palms have a presence distinct from any other tree planting within the Beirut Central District, and mark the Old Shoreline instantly recognisable from a distance. Along Rue Zeytouneh, the existing street trees are Jacaranda mimisifolia. These trees will be replanted with additional trees within the central median and at 5m intervals. They will create a strong boulevard effect and contrast with the aforementioned palms of the Old Shoreline. In All Saints Square, Zeytouneh Square and Santiyeh Square the tree planting varies to suit the specific character of each space and to contrast and compliment the existing street tree planting.
2011 Winner, WAF Awards, Category: Future Projects / Landscape