Icon of Beirut by Ziad El Khoury



Graduate architect Ziad El Khoury, who studied at the Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik, Lebanon, has sent us these images of his final student project called Icon of Beirut.


The angular tower is composed of two main volumes and the lower floors extend across the site.


It is a multifunctional public building, which contains internal green spaces. According to the designer, "it attempts to focus on the real identity of Beirut."


Below is some text from Ziad El Khoury:


Ziad El Khoury
My Final Project: Beirut Icon

Currently, towers are being created to mark the power of a firm or the wealth of a company or a man, and not to signal an urban event or the city in its real terms.


The contemporary tower dominates the city, but does not reflect its identity or the identity of its citizens.


This is the reason I am proposing the Icon of Beirut, which attempts to focus on the real identity of Beirut: cultural, commercial, religious, ecological and social.


This project is not a monolithic mass, but the transposition of the urban model of Beirut into a vertical scheme. This means the squares, roads, gardens etc. are transposed in a way which assures a horizontal and vertical continuity throughout the tower, and assures a relationship between open and closed, and public and private spaces.


The project concentrates the essentials of the public life of the citizens of Beirut, thus creating a multifunctional complex in its urban environment.





Above: ground floor


Above: fifth floor



Posted on Thursday January 29th 2009 at 10:01 am by Rachael Sykes. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Steve

    Good luck on ur carreer ziad !
    regarding the architecture, I do encourage the young talents, but i just don’t see any iconic image in this tower …
    not reflective of anything related to Beirut.. not any modern image that we havent already seen….
    im gonna have to say.. Too Deja Vu !
    Sorry :-)
    Good luck anyway

  • sandy

    Congratulations Ziad!!!!

  • Mike Khoury

    I’m proud & more than proud!!!!!!!
    For all candidat before, as reminder, we were the Pheonician of spreading alphabet, trading, sailing,….etc
    All my push Ziad, keep giving, you are an artist & Beirut deserve more.
    Hope one day be the manager of these buildings after my current experience in towers construction in UAE.

  • lana

    nothing more to add.
    congratulations to you Ziad.

  • guess an ”horizontal” tower will be more interesting here, like the first or second prize winner of the Beirut central competition by solidaire ( cant really remember). i totally agree with charbel samuel aoun. guess this project can fit anywhere, its not always the design that counts, but the whole context.we have to fill the blanks in Beirut in a cultural, social..way not by making icons ”eating” the historical,.. stuff

  • Mirabelle

    Great job Ziad!
    Very good beginning!
    Don’t know much about the vertical and horizontal thing, but all I can say is “u did it!”
    Keep up the good work,
    waiting to hear more about u!


    c’est vraiment un plaisir de voir un travail a cette hauteur !! courage ziad !!

  • Ghasan Jamous

    I am not an architect, my career is in development. After I have read all the comments above, I found that some are objective, some are encouraging, some are patriotic, some are cynical, some are jealous, some reflect their hatered to life in general and others their positive challenging achievments and vision. well, this is the Lebanese nature, otherwise we would not have experienced the destruction of our country from which we have not learned any lesson to improve the future. Let us look for the promising future of such talented young men, like Ziad and ecourage them, rather than destroy them, to continue to pursue their career positively. Let us all give Ziad a loud HORAY.. HORAY for the excellent job done and the gifted talented mind and spirit.. HORAY for Ziad and I hope you will see your project materialized somewhere.. Good Luck.

  • Laura

    Really great final project. Exceptional presentation. As a young student of Architecture just beginning to experiment with 3d computer drawings and renderings I wonder would anyone (or even Ziad himself) have any information about what software was used for these drawings?

  • Akram

    As a professional, I like very much the work of Mr Ziad. Congratulations.

  • Jay D

    i admire anyone willing to put their work up for critique, whether a student or not.

    ziad, my critique is your building interface at ground level, with the street- the public plaza/square is too open and wide and the building does not offer any sort of positive frontage to the street. It will not be a comfortable space for people and will most likely be a dead space.

    if you can take this into account in future, i wish you good luck with your endeavours.

  • Toufic M

    Awesome!..Good luck Ziad!..

  • moe mak

    hey ziad, ive raed the comments up ther,,,enno shu badde ellak, m a future architect, i dont have alot of advice to tell you, but hey, just express urself and dont let anyone stop you, go crazy, beirut is a land of battle fields and thoughts, as well as culture beauty and uglyness…it fits everyone, like a gigantic vagina fucked by everyone,,people are bullshitters, like me, architecture is art, self exprssion, selfishness,,thats what the world we live in is all about…yalla goood luckZzzz, i hope ur nt like those obcessed architects who think they are better tha everyone…

  • EVE

    I’ve read the comments and i couldn’t just not say anything! it’s true that i disagree with changing beirut’s icon and landmark into vertical icons which are not our identity as lebanese but in reply to Rony H. the LAU student, well u’ve learned ur lesson well about all the famous architects out there and thank u for letting us know that u have all this information! really! i’m impressed but still as lebanese u have to start encouraging talents, it doesn’t matter if u disagree or not to Ziad’s approach! what matters is that it is nice architecture and a good one and i can tell it functions perfectly but what matters is that w Lebanese student (other than urself) is out there and has the attention of people and someone we can be proud of! so i suggest u get over urself and i’d like to see ur work for a change and i’m sure there will be plenty of criticism.

    Ziad, aside the fact if we agree or not to ur vision of Beirut’s icon, everyone can tell that u have great potential, and if it wasn’t a good project there wouldn’t be so much criticism and comments and it wouldn’t attract people and have them debating over it! so therefore i agree with Ghassan Jamous!

    And as an architect myself, i see u have great potential and a brilliant future ahead of u and years of success to come. I can only hope that u will be able to spread something more unique to lebanese territory and more into our architectural culture rather than being led by what the world is doing!
    what goes for the world does not go for lebanese! it’s about time we understand that!

    Best of luck Ziad. Oh and one more thing. Archimaniak not everyone is Ziad’s friend. there are intellectual people left out here u know. But still if in proud moments such as these if we don’t have our friends’ support when can we have that?? so to all Ziad’s friends! u are great friends if Ziad can allow me to say that.

  • EVE

    P.S. i love “Samah” ‘s comment. it makes it more subjective looking at the tower. But that doesn’t mean i change my mind about the whole Beirut scale hehe :P

  • rouwayda habka

    i have seem many towers and public projects but urs has many specifications and we can put it with best architects projects ……………..bon travail Ziad , courage

  • rouwayda habka

    i have 1 comment , about the scale ..it’s huge!!!!

  • hawk

    As the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal ý Mercado once said, “Ang kabataan ang kinabukasan ng Bayan.” (The youth is the future of the Nation.) And as another aspiring architect, I can attest that Mr. Ziad will be a bright future for Lebanese Architecture. Make a name and make your country proud! Show everyone how competitve you are and may you have an outstanding career. Rock on! \m/

  • Rony H

    EVE you’re a exceptional person…. reading y0ur last comment made me smile .. well .. i think we all know.. with the birth of the artist came the birth of the critic.. every work in history was and still is criticized by people… I do encourage Ziad as i encourage all architects and architecture students to be men of vision for the prospect of our nation is dependent on people like Ziad, you, me and hundreds of other talented people.

    Looking forward to see your work EVE !

  • H K

    As a Designer, and a Father, I am Very Proud of you, my Son Ziad

  • Loubane

    It is becoz of such young ginius and creative minds that we keep our hope in our beloved country! They made ur day my dear friend, and you made mine! U are a great hard worker, and u finally “began” getting what u deserved!
    As long as we have minds like yours… LEBNEN BI ALF KHEIR!

  • David
  • EVE

    Rony H. you are exceptional urself. I’m glad we have people like u and Ziad. and im glad u encourage Ziad, u just needed to say it.

    As for my work, u already see it u just don’t know that it’s my work :)

    I wish you, Ziad and all the future talented lebanese architects a brilliant future and the best of luck.

  • joelle ghoul

    wow… simply wow!!! good job ZIAD! wish you all the best and hoping for more!
    would love to see your project executed! it’s pure pride

  • FADY T

    First, it is a good job ziad. but the point is that you can not label this as “ICON OF BEIRUT”…because Beirut is not Dubai and Abudhabi and others new countries…it’s a great city that passes through several stages and has undergone several changes, and as it is a result of the stratification of civilizations, so in all that we do, we can’t see the oriental city which is neither Arab nor Western..
    so i think its a very good job but u don’t have the right to give the title “ICON OF BEIRUT”…
    but finally I wish you Ziad the best of luck!!

  • Rony

    Thank you Fady T, you really mentioned the right thing,
    The project is amazing, call it anything you want, but it is definitely not an ICON and not of BEIRUT,
    An icon means you cannot image it somewhere else, I already can imagine the project in Dubai more than Beirut.
    The ICON of BEIRUT should be far beyond the scars and beyond the war…. As Fady T mentioned, we have a great history, and I strongly believe that with time Ziad will agree with us.

    Very good job Ziad, I am sure you will have a bright Future and I wish you all the best of Success


  • hugues

    bon projet, beau design, félicitation pour ton diplôme.

  • Omar Harb

    First as an architect,

    i cannot be offensive with any colleague (senior or junior), but i can give an opinion.


    what is the criteria of beauty and ugliness because, beauty can be seen as ugliness for some and vice-versa.


    Dear Ziad,

    I think the title of the project is a little bit irrelevant because icon, landmark and (avant-garde) are qualifications given to a project by certain level educated peoples from many fields after a certain period of time after construction.

    but after that if another project will take the position than the first one will be retrograded and so on.

    ex.: Centre Georges Pompidou, (France) was at a certain period of time the icon and then a landmark but now it’s an avant-guarde.

    but rather La Tour Eiffel (France) started with avant-garde and now it’s an icon after being a Landmark for a long time period.

    in my point of view i would rather go to a different appellation, rather functional, (ex.: twin, convention, complex, etc., …)

  • Charbel


    Well done. I think a lot of talent like yours has been shifted to our neighbouring countries in the middle east in the past two to three decades, because of the unfortunate situation (overall) in Lebanon. Keep up the good work, because with talent and perseverance like yours, Lebanon will truly shine again.

    You’re always going to receive negative feedback and different opinions, but the main thing is to stick to what you believe in and fight for it.


  • Sarkis A MOUBARAK

    Well done Ziad!

    In my opinion, this project must begin now. The design of the tower takes the shape of Phoenician letters doesn’t it? Or perhaps may be similar to some.