MDU Thesis by: Zarifi Haidar (2016)
Advisor: Dr. Robert Saliba, Professor. Department of Architecture and Design, American University of Beirut
Readers: Dr. Howayda Al-Harithy, Professor. Department of Architecture and Design, American University of Beirut • Dr. Nayla Al-Akl, Assistant Professor. Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management, American University of Beirut
The term “infrastructural breaks” stands for the irregular urban conditions resulting from the imposition of traffic arteries on inner cities fabrics. In the 1950s and 1960s, road-building schemes addressed the increasing need for facilitating accessibility in and out of inner cities without any instrumental engagement with ecological processes or with the socio-cultural needs of communities. The imposition of such traffic arteries disrupted the physical and social fabric of the neighborhoods they traversed. Taking the southern section of Beirut’s inner city ring road as case study, this thesis attempts to explore how the Fouad Chehab highway can be re-conceptualized from an infrastructural break into an integrative cultural edge linking the BCD to its adjoining districts.
This thesis is a conceptual, design-centered investigation that aims at exceeding “customary frames of understanding” (Schwarzer, 2000) by bringing together theoretical, analytical, and design knowledge from different disciplines. Its topic pertains to the recent concern by “integrative urbanism” (Ellin, 2006) to repair the disruptive impact of modernist functional planning on city fabrics. And, by working along the intersection of the design disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design, the thesis critically explores the emerging fields of Architectural Urbanism and Landscape Urbanism to articulate specific design strategies that embrace the site’s complexity and uniqueness.
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