Throughout our work in the neighbourhood of Karantina, Beirut on co-designed public spaces – as a response to the Beirut port explosion – the community highlighted the need for an indoor community centre that could host a wide range of activities. The project rehabilitated and transformed an unused public building that was heavily damaged into a child friendly, playful and safe space.
Almost two years after the catastrophic event, many buildings in the neighbourhood remained destroyed with no clear plans for rehabilitation. Reusing existing buildings is one of the key elements in the implementation of built interventions with a low environmental impact. In close collaboration with the community and the municipality, we were able to identify the site of intervention: a derelict storage space.
The design followed a participatory approach ensuring input from children, caregivers, partners and the local authorities around their needs and aspirations. We rehabilitated the building’s structure and services to address the evident need for maintenance.
Additionally, we adapted the existing layout of the building to create new spatial configurations that enable a variety of activities. The result of this project was a child-friendly multipurpose space, where children, youth and the wider community could meet and engage in activities, contributing to both improved resilience and mental health.
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