As an extension to Martyr’s Square, the most prominent plaza in the capital of Lebanon, Beirut, the new One Independence Square building is envisioned as a reflection of the historic revolutionary and cultural events that characterised the city over time.
Designed by BAD. Built by Associative Data, in collaboration with Carlos Ferrater, the building houses premium retail and luxurious office spaces, but also creates a clear dialogue with the square, offering direct access from Martyr’s Square through a lax pedestrian ramp. A ground-level shortcut symmetrically cuts right through the building and connects with a sky lobby upon entry.
The art of the structure
The building elegantly stands on steel columns with white concrete reinforcement, providing a superstructure that carefully considers seismic design since the region is vulnerable to earthquakes. An impressive glass cube is positioned between these pillars, mainly hanging from the superstructure. The building’s core is placed in the back facade, making it almost invisible.
Another intriguing aspect of this building is its unusual construction process, a top-to-bottom method. The outer skin of the building is set upright, followed by the other components.
The steel columns are erected first, after which superstructure steel beams are laid at uniform intervals. From these beams, the cables and slabs are suspended. The slabs are inserted within the outer structural bands, pulled up with the cables, tightened to ensure maximum tensile strength, and connected to the columns, as if detached from the rest of the structure. Embracing all the slabs, the glass creates the illusion of a seemingly free-hanging glass cube.
This delicate connection allows flexible office layouts, creating open spaces with big spans. Also, on the upper floors, the offices enjoy an unobstructed 360° views of the surroundings. Dangling in a glass box, the slabs float in a vast free-span space, creating a liberating experience both for building occupants and visitors.
The building is scheduled to start construction in 2018, and will for many years to come remind of Martyr’s Square’s history of independence.
Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to BAD. Built by Associative Data and Carlos Ferrater for the information given to write this article.
Plot area: 1 067m²
Total built-up area: 8 622m²
Commercial and retail: 988m²
Offices: 6 894m²
Caption main image: The extensive use of glass creates the illusion of a seemingly free-hanging glass cube within the superstructure. Courtesy of BAD. Built by Associative Data and Carlos Ferrater