In October 2015, the Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon (APEAL) launched an architectural competition for the planning and design of a new Modern and Contemporary art museum in Beirut, the Beirut Museum of Art (BeMA).
The museum is to serve as the anchor along Beirut's new 'Museum Mile', the location of the National Museum and Museum of Lebanese Prehistory, the Mineral Museum (MiM), Beit Beirut (House of Beirut) and the Beirut City History Museum. Though being built on a site owned by the city’s Université Saint Joseph, the museum will be private and independent.
ARCHITECTURE COMPETITION AND BUILDING DESIGN
After a year-long competition that began in October 2015, the winning design has been selected by an international jury.
- Chaired by Lord (Peter) Palumbo, Chairman of The Pritzker Prize for Architecture, the jury included curators Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Dame Julia Peyton-Jones; architects George Arbid, Dr. Farès el-Dahdah, Dr. Rodolphe El-Khoury, Rem Koolhaas and Lord Richard Rogers; artist Lamia Joreige and APEAL President, Henrietta Nammour. The late Zaha Hadid, who was active on the jury until she passed away in 2015, remains an honorary member.
- The firm HW Architecture, led by Lebanese/French architect Hala Wardé, was selected from a shortlist of 13 entries.
- Hala Wardé has worked for over 26 years with Jean Nouvel and is currently leading the Louvre Abu Dhabi project, which she has been overseeing since 2006.
- The winning design features a central campanile that will rise nearly 120 meters above the museum to act as a cultural beacon for the city. The campanile will include space for workshops and performances, as well as artist's residences with expansive views of downtown Beirut. The design also includes a public garden that will accommodate site-specific installations, as well as an amphitheater for performing arts.