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Hadid to judge Lebanese architects-only museum contest

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Zaha Hadid is to judge an international competition for a new 12,000m² modern art gallery in Beirut – open to architects of Lebanese origin only

The RIBA Royal Gold Medal-winner is part of a judging panel chaired by Peter Palumbo which also features Richard Rogers and Serpentine Gallery co-directors Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones.

Planned to open in 2020, the landmark 12,000m² facility will be constructed next to National Museum in the Lebanese capital’s Achrafieh district.

Backed by the Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon (APEAL) the contest is only open to Lebanese architects living in Lebanon or abroad.

The announcement comes one year after Hadid completed the 3,000m² Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (pictured) at her alma mater, the American University of Beirut.

According to the contest brief: ‘Envisioned as a multidisciplinary hub of art and design dedicated to Lebanese and Middle-Eastern art and culture, the museum will feature a significant permanent collection, innovative programs and cutting-edge exhibitions.

‘Reflecting our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, the museum will be an essential space for dialogue about modern and contemporary art in Lebanon, in the Lebanese diaspora, and beyond.’

Owned by Université Saint Joseph, the 12,600m² competition site was on the front line of fighting during the country’s civil war.

The new museum will celebrate the re-emergence of Lebanon’s artistic community following the violent conflict which ended 25 years ago.

The winning team – set to be announced next autumn – will design the museum and masterplan a neighbouring residential and education campus for the university.

Ten teams will be shortlisted in March and invited to draw up anonymous designs during the competition’s second stage.

There is no cash prize and the winners will design the project on a ‘pro bono’ basis. According to the contest organiser: ‘As this initiative aims to develop a civic institution in Lebanon, and in the absence of public funding, APEAL is seeking contributions “in kind” for various aspects of the project development.

‘It is expected that the architect will be compensated for direct costs related to the project, however the architect’s fee would be offered on a pro bono basis.’

The competition language is English and the deadline for applications is 6pm local time on 4 January.




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