Beirut Fitness Center by Solidere

The Beirut Fitness Center is located on Lots #146-01 and 02 in the New Waterfront District – reclaimed land in the BCD. The project is developed by Solidere on a designated stretch within the New Waterfront District for temporary programs that are expected to operate for a period of 8-10 years. The temporary master plan aims to establish activities that will generate new public destinations. The project site has an area of 9,700 m2 with a plot size of 125 x 80m. The developer proposes an exclusive sports facility and leisure activities that connect to the planned central pedestrian spine, Rue Patriarche Hwayek.

The program proposed by the client covers 8700 m2 serving up to 2000 members. As the proposed temporary project barely covers a fraction of the allowable built up area of our site, the scheme celebrates the
abundance of available land at this very particular moment in time, which will no longer be possible when the zone reaches its real estate maturity.

A landscaped park is proposed at a new reference level, 6 meters lower than the street level. Unlike conventional urban sports facilities and gyms, which are typically closed and contained within buildings, our
facility relies on its connection and exposure to outdoor spaces. The project develops around a 1260 m2 outdoor courtyard and 2 outdoor tennis courts of 1222 m2 located at the new reference level. Indoor activity
spaces including fitness and aquatic zones, squash courts, reading rooms, and multipurpose spaces lie along the periphery of the outdoor courtyard and tennis courts separated only by clear glazed full-height
operable panels. The boundary of indoor/outdoor is lost as visual and sensual permeability and transparency are enhanced through users’dynamic  movement in and out. At this level, services including showers, lockers,
treatment rooms and technical areas are inserted in a long narrow band along the north-south axis on the western side of the plot. The street level ground is highlighted by 5690 m2 of red epoxy finished concrete floor extending on the totality of the surface defining the open and permeable boundaries of the project, specifically in connection to the pedestrian spine on the eastern edge.

There is no built mass on the ground level, only transparent planes 2.2 meters high that frame the courtyard and tennis courts below, allowing the public to overlook  sports and related activities through the vertical open-air transparent facades. The automobiles’ elliptical track and parking spots around the courts and the open voids frame the project’s activities. The entrance and drop-off to the fitness center are accessed from the western side of the site and celebrated with a 40 m long portico.

No functions are housed in this structure. It serves to protect the center from concurrent construction sites and future developments to the West. The portico also celebrates the arrival of the visitors.