Ian Ritchie Architects took part in the open International Competition for the design of a Knowledge Innovation Centre in Tripoli (Lebanon). The site was located within the campus of Rachid Karami International Fair designed by Oscar Niemeyer in the 1960s.
IRAL’s concept of a landscape-led approach for the integration of 60,000m2 of offices and support facilities respected the architecture and spatial composition of Neimeyer’s buildings and their context.
IRAL designed a landscape on two levels: one above ground, and only one below ground because of a high water table and inserted the accommodation programme between the two. The offices were designed as highly adaptable ‘lines’ of modules, part glazed and part rammed earth wall from the site material, with planted courtyards between them and fully accessible planted roofs above. From this layered landscape only a few key buildings emerge which read as simple volumes or surfaces. Their facades are made of a mineral lattice, allowing transparency and ventilation. They are carefully organised within the site to structure the Knowledge and Innovation Centre into a small cité, a subtle new landmark in Tripoli providing a perfect environment for working and interacting.