Artist Jad El Khoury installs colourful window shades to war-torn skyscraperin Beirut
Artist and interior architect Jad El Khoury has installed colourful window shades to the war-scarred Burj Al Murr tower in Beirut.
Khoury is known for adding colourful doodles to several of Beirut’s war-scarred buildings, and has applied the same sensibility to his latest installation, Burj Al Hawa (wind in Arabic). The colourful shades covering the empty windows of the tower “dance” in the blowing wind, “resurrecting the tower back to life, and painting smiles on resident’s faces”.
Known also as Murr Tower or Beirut Trade Centre, construction on the tower began in 1974, a year before the Lebanese civil war, and was designed to feature office spaces, retail and food and beverage outlets.
The unfinished building is “filled with scars, constantly provoking the city’s residents, whose past is shadowed by war, and present is spent dealing with those harsh memories”, the architect said.
Khoury explained that due to the tower being the tallest structure at that time and located above the ‘Green Line’ (the invisible no-mans land that separated East and West Beirut), it was the ideal location for sniper shooters.
Architectural projects designed by international firms are now beginning to grace Beirut’s skyline, including Herzog & de Meuron’s Beirut Terraces, and Foster + Partner’s 3Beirut residential complex in Beirut Central District, adding to the city’s contemporary urbanscape.
Lebanese architects are also addressing various issues in the city, both architecturally and through design, restoring important heritage buildings and creating a discourse on issues such as the environment and internal crises.
Lebanese architect Annabel Karim Kassar is currently restoring an Ottoman mansion in Beirut to preserve its architectural past, while a number of young designers tackled Beirut’s garbage crisis during Beirut Design Week last year.