Echoes from the West..

here’s an excerpt from the American Nihilist Underground Society which we’re reproducing here because it quite realistically depicts the situation in Lebanon (and similar third world countries with a rich past) from a cultural point of view:

“Decline of society is a symptom of our decline as people, as a culture, as an idea.

Decline originates in the collision between our wealth, and our resentment of anyone who has more.

It makes us passive, and instead of thinking toward creation, we think toward parasitism.

This is how most of the world thinks, and it’s why they live in poverty, have low IQs and are beset by disease and warfare.

Thanks to our prole revolt in the west, we are joining them. They have almost won; liberal democracy is their triumph.

They have one big task left: destroy heritage, and make us all citizens of the global shopping mall, fresh for imprinting without whatever trivial trends obsess them”


Hoping this inexorable nightmare vision doesnt come to pass.


1 down, 200 to go…

according to fellow facebook group Save Beirut Heritage:

“Demolished on Friday 20th of May 2011, at 6am.
Plot 1132 – Classified B – Declassified by Majliss Shoura el Dawleh –
On the highway from Hamra to Achrafieh (Fouad Chehab – Burj El Ghazal), on the right hand side. After the Bachoura cemetery and before burj al ghazal. Right facing the Markazia Monroe Suites, on the other… side of the highway.

One of the most beautiful houses of Beirut is now gone.”


there are barely 200 traditional houses left in Beirut out of the 1450 in the first post-war census provided by APSAD. houses rated A and B are not to be touched except to be restored. not demolished. this house was destroyed in the first hours of morning while still
in near pristine shape.

we want to thank the lebanese owners of such houses and the municipality of beirut for their zealous endeavor to erase the true face of the lebanese capital. we wish to thank the lebanese government for ever postponing the implementation of the law to protect traditional houses/edifices and culturally relevant structures in lebanon and we want to thank influencial developers who build shamelessly upon the ruins of old beirut that are being discovered whenever new building foundations are excavated.

in short, since it seems beirut is in such good hands, we would like to wish it a swift and painless death (by concrete-induced suffocation).


Mar Mikhael 1st May Protest

The APLH participated with Save Beirut Heritage in the protest which took place
near the ex-cinema Vendome construction site. the APLH made it clear that a law
to protect traditional buildings is an ESSENTIAL step the lebanese government
has to make. view the complete edit here.


Architectural Atrocities…

We wonder how a permit was given to allow this Optimus Prime
foot building to be built this close to the traditional house right under
it. The picture speaks for itself: the old house’s beauty is forever crushed by a gigantic concrete boot, its chambers drowned in shadow and humidity for its remaining days. but hey, we preserved the old house, right? It’s still standing!

The APLH will be participating in tomorrow’s protest with Save Beirut Heritage to demand once again the voting and implementation of the law to protect traditional streets and buildings.


If a house could speak

“I am a flower…Take care of me”:
Thus says the plaque on this traditional Ashrafieh house.

Hoping it doesnt fall on deaf ears.



To look past the facade

When the beirut municipality gives a demolition permit to a developer
because this developer agrees to ‘preserve’ the old building’s facade by incorporating it into the facade of the new tower he’s going to built, it is like ‘preserving’ a Siberian tiger’s fur in the form of a coat after killing the endangered majestic wild animal. The house is DEAD when you empty it and display its facade on your new building’s 10th floor like a deer’s head over a chimney.

People need to know that the current and ongoing disfigurement of Beirut is not just, old buildings being demolished; it’s a country’s identity being wiped out, and replaced by an imported identity in the form of ultramodern towers and gigantic malls. Our architectural memory which took centuries to be shaped this way, is now systematically obliterated by real estate moguls to whom, 10’s of millions of $ are a breeze. These people dont care about history, architecture, vernacular design, functionality, urban planning, zoning, green spaces in urban areas. They want to build and sell one concrete monstrosity after the other, and we dont blame them because that’s all they know and care to do.

It’s ordinary people who are to blame because they’re letting this happen with a disheartening display of disconnection. Their capital is suffocating with towers growing in it exactly like a tumor (chaotically, and in all the wrong places) while they go about their business being totally oblivious to their living space’s deterioration.

The solution is a law that protects old traditional buildings,  enforces the specifications of the architecture to build according to the area’s infrastructure and compensates traditional building owners by allowing them to build elsewere. Currently Lebanon doesnt have that and being a country with an extremely rich heritage, this is simply criminal. People of Lebanon, the internet is our civilized tool to pressure our government to enact such a law to prevent further cultural disfigurement to beirut. Make your voice heard through facebook and through your spoken and written word but just dont go ignoring what’s going on around you and saying ‘I cant do anything about it’.

Wishing Lebanon a cultural resurrection…



Greets! our website is in its final stage of twinking.
It would be awesome if anyone can step in to help us manage the site
(updates, moderation, pictures/downloads, etc). The work is benevolent,
but you can proudly put it on your CV 😛



Not all is bleak!

Just like the town of Jounieh was able to own a traditional house and restore it as a public monument, we hope the municipality of Beirut follows suit. we’re not just talking 2-3 buildings but the entire Zoukak el Blat area, any remaining house overlooking the Ain el Mreisseh bay and many beautiful houses still scattered in ashrafieh and overshadowed by empty and lifeless towers and their blind walls. aside from stressing the infrastructure & depriving the street of water and electricity, ashrafieh towers plunge small ashrafieh streets in darkness in the middle of the day with their bulk. hoping the Beirut municipality realizes that we can also build towers and do business outside Beirut too!


A typical case of non-culture


A common scenario that happens frequently in Lebanon: He’s young, he’s rich, he inherited a house from his father. We write about an existing person who shall remain nameless. He is an architect so he’s had an education. and yet he’s still going to build a tower on the premices of the 150 years old Lebanese mansion he inherited.

The 2-floor house,  has typical arcades, wooden carpentry that’s still in perfect condition, courtyards, cast iron staircase, kitchen  vault or ‘khan’ at the back.

Dear sir, you don’t want it, you cant destroy it. this house belongs to the history of  Lebanon and represents its memory. these houses are rare. their value is beyond monetary. We understand that an uneducated ‘nouveau riche’ would find no value in owning such a house, but an architect!!? Lebanese -expats or locals- who can, are urged to save these treasures of history and restore them into a wonderful boutique hotel, a library, an art center etc…when there’s a will there’s a way.


Now what…

the joint efforts of the APLH and the ministry of culture have stopped the demolition of the ain el mreisseh house and another neighboring house as well. we’ll be in talks with the ministry of culture to see how these house are going to be restored.

Right now the house is roofless, its carpentry exposed like many buildings which demolition was halted and were left as such. let’s hope the government can own them or (who knows) we can raise enough money to make this house owned by all the donators who participate in buying it. any suggestion will be welcome!

Thanks to the sizable support we’ve received those last 2 days in emails and phone calls and to the ministry of culture for being quick to respond despite the current governmental  shutdown.

will update you soon..