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French Version

Building the tallest Landmark in Lebanon

Jean Nouvel designs what might become the future architectural icon of the Mideast

World renowned architect Jean Nouvel has handed in the final blueprint for a commercial project that will be known as the Bilbao Museum of the Middle East for its creative, beautiful, ingenuous and unique design. The project, which is being planned by the company Landmark, will be located in Riad Solh square in Downtown Beirut.

It will be made up of two low-level buildings that will not exceed 60-meters and one 155-meter, or 40 floor, tower - making it one of the tallest and largest structures in Lebanon.

Costing $200 million, including the $60 million purchase of the land, which is currently occupied by a large parking lot, the development will consist of a five-star hotel, furnished apartments for rent, luxurious apartments for sale, an 18,000 square meter mall, a cinema complex that can accommodate up to 1,500 people, an amusement center, a health club, a spa and a large underground parking lot. The total built-up area of the future landmark will reach 120,000 square meters. The Landmark project is expected to create approximately 500 new jobs.

The Landmark is a 75 percent Kuwaiti and 25 percent Lebanese owned company. The prime Kuwaiti shareholders of Landmark are Hamad Al-Wazzan and Sheikha Souad

Al-Homaidi and the Lebanese shareholders are Ahmed Baadarani and Nassif Karam. "We hope to start construction work before the end of the year, as soon as we get the necessary permits for excavation and construction," said assistant managing director for administration and construction at Landmark, Ziyad Ibrahim Alshaar. "And as soon as we start the work, we expect to finish building the future architectural icon of Lebanon and the Middle East within three years," he added.

The Landmark concluded several agreements with local and international companies to complete the project. These include local company Millennium, a French company specializing in glass, a British company for the commercial center, another British company for the preliminary architectural studies and the local Khatib and Elmi company for the execution and mapping studies.

Jean Nouvel is famous in the Arab world for his design of the Institute du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris, one of the most eye-catching concepts in the city of lights. He received a number of prestigious awards, including the Equerre d'Argent for the best French building for both his IMA (1987) and the Lyon Opera House (1993). "My design will be aligned with the spirit of Beirut's history, but also to create a new Beirut," Nouvel told The Daily Star when he first visited Beirut last year.

Beirut,04 19 2004
Tark El Zein
The Daily Star
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