- Award Cycle:Status:Award RecipientCountry of origin:LebanonLocation:Beirut, LebanonClient:SolidereArchitect:Vladimir Djurovic Landscape ArchitectureDesign:Size:815 m²Completed:2004
A serene and contemplative space in the heart of downtown Beirut, Samir Kassir Square provides welcome relief from the built-up urban fabric and frenetic pace of the central business district. Two historic ficus trees provide shade at the centre of the space, and a reflecting pool with water cascading over its edges marks the border with the street. The pool is flanked by a rectangular timber deck that encircles the two trees, and has at its western side a long bench of solid stone. The edges of the site have a ground cover of dwarf Natal plum (carissa macrocarpa), a water-conserving plant known for its dark evergreen leaves and its white, star-shaped flowers and red berries which grow throughout the year.
The architect Vladimir Djurovic is known for his attention to detail and his carefully chosen, limited palette of materials. At Samir Kassir Square, his sparing use of durable materials and economy of elements points to a clear new direction for landscape design, in a region where the discipline is not yet well established or mature, and where designers often try to emulate prototypes (such as tropical, English or French gardens) that are inappropriate and out of context, both visually and environmentally.