AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF BEIRUT
ISSAM FARES INSTITUTE
AW was one of five international firms invited to compete for the Issam Fares Institute, a new 20,000 SF Political Science think tank that occupies a strategic location on the American University of Beirut campus. In our design, the building cantilevers over primary paths connecting the middle and upper campuses, encouraging direct access through the site. This re-orients the existing approach sequence, inviting pedestrian traffic through the Institute’s ground floor and activating the lush landscape of an adjacent green called the Campus Oval.
Education, Convening Space, Faculty/Admin Offices
American University of Beirut
At one end, the building is firmly anchored to the ground by a core of library, conference, and auditorium spaces. At the other, research offices ring a central void that punctures two cantilevered floors. A mature banyan tree grows up through this void, allowing landscape to penetrate the building’s upper reaches.
The building’s skin employs narrow bands of limestone and glass in a horizontal weave. The stripes of local stone create shadowing and depth on the recessed glass surface, reducing heat gain and providing visual texture. Light enters the building through these glass ribbons at eye and ceiling height, maximizing views while minimizing the sun’s effect.