Hashim Sarkis Studios was awarded the commission of the new Byblos Town Hall after an anonymous open competition was held. The Architecture of the new municipality expresses Jbeil at three different levels: its Archaeological heritage beginning in the park across the highway is reflected in the abstract stereotomic volumes, the formal language of local architecture is reflected in the simplicity of the building’s volumes and in their intimate relationship with the landscape, and the experience of travel and movement through is captured in the dynamic relationship between its volumes as they are experienced from the highway. The proposal integrates the municipality building with the park allowing the latter to extend under the building in the form of a courtyard and to culminate in the cafeteria and building lobby. The building relates to the highway through an inhabited wall along the length of their common boundary, which acts as a noise barrier, as well as a pedestal for the municipality as seen from the highway. A future urban design scheme could include a pedestrian bridge over the highway to connect between both sides of the park and between the upper and lower parts of the town.
The building consists of three volumes bridging over the park and creating series of enclosed, covered, and open spaces underneath. These volumes define spaces between them that bring light into the volumes but also animate of the courtyard spaces underneath.
Each volume contains a component of the program, namely offices for three entities sharing the building: a union, administration, and the municipality. The volumes are at once separated from each other and connected at the ground level. The glass-enclosed ground floor level combines the common spaces of the program: entrances, cafeteria and exhibition space. A public auditorium is tucked below the ground level courtyard garden, accessible directly from the garden as well as the glass lobby above. Technical programs and the police department are located within the constructed base, looking over the courtyard. An underground parking is also possible under the building itself or the asphalted stretch of the park, which will cater to both municipality and park users.
Each Building is a truss that allows uninterrupted space underneath and maximum flexibility in the layout of offices in the upper floors. Circulation cores and steel columns embedded in the noise barrier provide the vertical support of the three volumes.
The material palette comprises concrete and steel for the structure, precast concrete for cladding the volumes, durable wood for the trellis on the inner facades for the courtyard canopy, and turf stone paving in the courtyard.
Team: Sandra Frem (project coordinator), Boulos Douaihy, Cynthia Gunadi, Penn Ruderman, Sama El-Saket
Structural Design: Adams Kara Taylor, London