The development of Chakrieh Street marked the first urban expansion of Saida beyond the walls of its historic district. Today this street has become a prominent commercial hub leading users into the old souks of the historic core through a number of secondary roads cutting through them. Most of these gateways are packed with commercial activity and haven’t been renovated in over a decade.
Their deteriorating and chaotic physical and infrastructural states make them less hospitable and accessible to users and visitors. This presents them as appropriate candidates for a physical intervention that delivers a socio-economic benefit to its users. Therefore, we have chosen one of those side streets as a pilot for rehabilitation and redesign.
For this purpose, we invited 6 students from the Lebanese American University’s School of Architecture and Design for a summer workshop to survey, study, and propose a design solution for the chosen site. The students were working in groups to deliver numerous proposals for the site. Following several meetings and presentations to the university, and to Saida’s municipal board, the mayor chose one of the proposals for further development and implementation.
The project was designed in Summer 2016 and the advisers are instructors Karim Najjar, Ahmad Nouraldeen and Balsam Madi. The students that participated in designing this project are: Abeer Fanous, Christy Layous, George Abi Sleiman, Khaled Zayoud, Lama Siblini, and Sima Khawli. External consultants Dana Ali (Landscape Architect) and Anwar Antoun (Structural Engineer) also participated in the development of the design.
The initiative is founded on a collaboration between Saida Observatory for Social Impact (SOSI), Lebanese American University’s department of Architecture & Design, and the Municipality of Saida.