Competition Brief

The most important criteria of the competition is delivering a 

Green, sustainable, low energy, zero energy or nearly zero energy buildings, bio-climatic. A lot of terms used to define a generic way of seeing and interpreting architecture. As far as Dar[e] and this competition, the concern is summarized by providing maximum users’ comfort while using minimum energy and natural resources, thus having minimum impact onto the environment. Other approach to sustainability take into account one, or more or all of the following points:  

  1. Embedded energy of construction materials
  2. Energy consumed within the construction phase
  3. Overall lifespan energy consumption or (running energy consumption)
  4. End of life or the energy needed for demolition, decommissioning or recycling

The name Quarantina is derived from the historically secluded area far from both the city and its port where ships and traveller would be sent for a quarantine period, until declared fit and healthy to be allowed to enter the city.  The area is limited from the east by the Beirut river, from the north and west by the port, and is separated from the nearest urban hub of Mar-Mikhael by a high speed 2×4 lanes highway. It is an exceptional area by the variety of function it contains: industries and factories, military barracks, offices and businesses, residential (local inhabitants and rentals), governmental hospital, it has a large public park. In addition to these, the Forum de Beyrouth is a major cultural and entertainment venue, along with the famous B-O18 underground nightclub. Yet with all this mixture, little interaction happens among the various user groups and more so with the rest of the city in particular Mar-Mikhael which is a vibrant spot for living, business and lively night entertainment.

The competition lot has these coordinates, (lat 33.902298o; lon 35.530647o) What we are proposing is a completely new way to look at the Beirut urban block, and the competition is about applying this new vision.

Our proposal is to divide the block into a continuous ring band of 15m width. This band starts at 3m setback from the initial block limit(a). Beyond the 15m is another 5m backyard (b) to the specific building, and beyond that is a common place (c) for the entire block that is at a difference in level than the backyard.

The new lots are small, they are adjacent and continuous, in a sense that they do not have side elevations. They share common underground parking accessed from two specific locations on the block only. Each lot has its own different height from the one adjacent to it.

The competition objectives are to develop three of these lots based on the following: Lot #9, 10 & 11. with an area of 324; 362 & 333sqm respectively. 

Lots #9 & 11 are more for Residential, Lot # 10 is more for offices.

Lot #9 can go up to 5 floors as Ground floor and four upper floors.

Lot #10 can go up to 6 floors as Ground floor and five upper floors.

Lot #11 can go up to 7 floors as Ground floor and six upper floors.

The following constrains /criteria shall apply:

Ground levels are divided into two zones (d), the front and back zones with a drop of 1.55m between both, the back being the lower part. Both part can have a mezzanine (e & f) that covers 40% of the floor area. What to do with the difference in levels in the upper floor is kept to the participants’ choice. Besides the entrance to the building and to the backyard, both ground floors are commercial 

The Ground floor protective canopy, as a requirement, a light weight canopy should be added between the ground floor and the first floor, extending 4m beyond the front elevation (g), and 5m beyond the back elevation (h). This canopy should be permanent, easy to maintain, but should not be used as a terrace.

The upper floors are expected to cater for the main function according to the lot specification. This means that at least 2/3 of the function should be as specified, the remaining 1/3 could be other. The sizes and area are left to the participants to decide as long as having at least two varieties (small and medium). The bulk of the main building should fit within the 15m width from ground floor to roof (i). Balconies of lighter structure than the main building structure can extend some 1.5m (j). As for the balconies linear distribution, they should not exceed 40% of the façade horizontal length (k), and each balcony should not be more than 10% of the façade. Also balconies of next floor cannot be above each other.

Providing accessibility from the adjacent buildings to the roof terrace is kept to the participants’ choice.

Also this zone (j) can cater any light structure device that might be required for passive design interventions. It can extend (k) up to 4.5m above the roof as long as it is not continuous, not fully opaque and light(er) structure.

The staircase should reach the roof, and a small roof (m) structure of up to up 15% of the floor area, (Staircase & elevators not counted) can be added. The function and the usage is left to the participants.

Lot #11, should provide an access ramp to the underground parking of not less than 6m wide, but not more than 8.5m wide. 

The levels of the street are marked on the drawing, and there is up to 1.5m difference between the limit of lot#9 and the limit of lot #11. It is kept to the participants’ choice as to consider the max roof height (n) and allowing variation on the ground floor, or vis-versa. Similarly, for zone (p) which is initially a service zone, participants are flexible to use it or not to benefit their proposal.

Judgement criteria

  1. Entries are judged anonymously; a number is assigned on registration visible on all submitted sheets.
  2. As long as they abide by the program the Entries are judged individually and anonymously for their:
    1. Creative and innovative architectural design approach/concept, (40%)
    1. Passive Sustainable environmental design approach and proposal for how user comfort is reached (50%)
    1. Overall visual presentation & clear explanation (10%) 
  3. Regarding the sustainable environmental design approach to reach user comfort and reduce running energy, entries are expected to tackle the following fundamental points and present them in a concise and clear way (more graphic, less text)
    1. Passive design solution (including orientation, ventilation and natural light)
    1. Material choices (more for their expected thermal behaviour rather than their embedded carbon footprint)
    1. Cooling/heating strategies
  4. Embedded energy & end of life decommissioning energy are left to the discretion of the participants, but will not be integral part of the judgment criteria. 
  5. Integrating active systems within the entry are kept to the discretion of the participants, but will not be an integral part of the judgement criteria.
  6. Participants are NOT required nor expected to do energy simulation nor solar simulation, or any other software simulation. Similarly, No Energy calculations are expected. 
  7. Since all entries are digital, judgment will also be only digital, based on the shared presentation template size, participant should take this seriously into account when planning their text sizing and their overall submission.
  8. Participants are expected to show through night/day and seasonal sketches how the building will behave in terms of providing comfort with minimal energy (Passive design).


The deliverables are:

Three (A1) sheets + One (A3) sheet

  1. All technical drawings of the building: plans, sections, elevations and axonometric
  2. The clear and detailed passive design strategies (material choice, orientation, ventilation, natural light, cooling and heating strategies). One important note for the Beirut Summer weather is how would you deal with the humidity.
  3. A short text explaining concisely and clearly the passive design strategies.
  4. A detailed table showing the various function distribution along with their respective areas

Not part of the Jury process each team will submit one visual (A3) as the main image for their project to be used as the project cover page. This image can be the same as in the main submission or it can a new addition. 

Important note: Participants are advised to be careful about the all-digital presentation, and the actual size of the file to be submitted. Rely on texts that are large enough to be clear without the need to zoom in. Similarly, for the technical drawings and their relative scale and details, these should be as clear as possible without the need to zoom in.