Beirut Terraces by Herzog & de Meuron


Herzog & de Meuron Beirut Terraces

Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron have designed this apartment tower with overhanging floor plates and terraces for Beirut, Lebanon.

Herzog & de Meuron Beirut Terraces

Created as part of a wider masterplan to regenerate this area of the city that includes a marina, the building will comprise five different modular floor slabs used in varying combinations to create a mixture of overhangs and terraces.

Herzog & de Meuron Beirut Terraces

The building will have vegetation on the terraces to provide privacy and in the main entrance space to act as continuation of the neighbouring green boulevard.

Herzog & de Meuron Beirut Terraces

The 116 metre-high structure will be supported by columns on a 14.7 metre regular grid, with each floor plate overhanging the glazing by at least 60 centimetres.

Beirut Terraces Herzog & de Meuron

129 single, duplex and townhouse apartments will be available, arranged in different clusters throughout the tower.

Herzog & de Meuron Beirut Terraces

The project is due for completion in 2013.

Herzog & de Meuron Beirut Terraces

See all our stories about Herzog & de Meuron »

All images © Herzog & de Meuron. More information on the project website.

Here's some more from the architects:


The city of Beirut finds itself at the heart of the developing Middle East. As a cosmopolitan city throughout its existence, it always figured as a cultural hub of the region and – culturally as well as geographically – functioned as a link between Europe and the Middle East. By consequence Beirut’s urban history could hardly be more diverse; remains of Phoenician, Roman, Arab, Mamluk, Ottoman and colonial rule have shaped the city and its buildings, just as its past and eventful present have left their mark.

The design of Beirut Terraces was quite literally influenced by the layers of the city’s rich and tumultuous history. The most immediate historical event, which those from Beirut will remember for generations to come, is that of the assassination of the Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, which occurred when his car detonated in front of the St.Georges Hotel, its ruins are still visible as a daily reminder. Adjacent to the site there is a vast landfill of war-debris and trash from the several bombings since the 1970’s, but in the future this will change. Despite the scarred history, there is a clear vision to rehabilitate the area, the current masterplan already well under way aims to rebuild and bring life back to this part of Beirut. The site is located in a portion of the masterplan dedicated to building office and residential high rise buildings and is closely related to a new yachting marina.

Beirut Terraces by Herzog & de Meuron

Above: level three


The proposed building concept, structure, and appearance are conceived by both awareness and respect for the city, as well as self-confident optimism that it shares with contemporary Beirut. The project is founded on five principles: layers and terraces, inside and outside, vegetation, views and privacy, light and identity. The result is a vertically layered building expressed by diverse sizes of slabs which create both openness and privacy and enable flexible living between in- and outside. Fine detailing and a focus on the concerted orchestration of decent materials make for an efficient and luxurious building. Conscious of energy use, the environmental engineering coupled with the integration of vegetation into the architecture, enhance the quality of living while also lending to the building’s sustainability.

Beirut Terraces by Herzog & de Meuron

Above: level 9

Layers and Terraces

The building is a 116 meter tall multilayered high rise. Its stratified structure is differentiated by the individual residences set back or forward to allow for terraces and overhangs, light and shadow, and places of shelter and exposure. In this way unique places are created to be enjoyed by residents and guests alike. The individual apartments are grouped on the different levels in different formations and come together to carefully shape a new neighbourhood.

Inside and Outside

The moderate climate of Beirut is certainly one of the city’s biggest assets; it makes outdoor life not only an additional, but an integral part of Beirut’s urban life. Capitalizing on this asset and cultivating apartments that foster such specificities is one of the key design principles. Each apartment’s indoor and outdoor spaces merge, and in this way the terraces become integral to everyday living.

Vegetation, Views and Privacy

The proposal for the vegetation blends in with the concept of the existing masterplan. The idea of a green boulevard that connects the residential high rise to its surroundings is taken up by the design and continued vertically both inside and outside of the building. The main entry, an airy high space is equipped with water ponds, plants and outlooks that open up the views to the sea in the north and the green boulevard to the east. The complement between architecture and suspended nature enlivens the spacious lobby around the central core and continues up to the balconies and terraces throughout the entire building. The entry sequence thus develops a consistent transition between the open, public landscape and private, green residences.

Being almost on the shoreline of Beirut, the sea-views are precious qualities of the project. Throughout the building’s terraces plantings create vegetated screens, which simultaneously provide shade, but, more importantly, guarantee the necessary level of privacy between the individual apartment’s terraces. Additionally, the building’s vegetation frames views and generates pleasant microclimates by tempering their immediate environment and providing an active breathing part of the architecture.

Beirut Terraces by Herzog & de Meuron

Above: level 20

Light and Identity

Extensive overhangs provide shadow and reduce the solar gains of the building to a minimum. Wherever needed, perforations mediate the levels of light and solar exposure. Their density, shape, and shadows generate an unmistakable pattern that clearly distinguishes the identity of the tower from its surroundings. Furthermore, the relative thickness of the floor plates is substantial enough to balance the daily temperature cycles by virtue of its thermal mass, storing heat over the course of the day and releasing it during the cooler nights. It is such passive strategies that make the building a truly sustainable place to live.


To guarantee sufficient differentiation of the building volume and maintain a reasonable building ratio, the tower is made from five module floors that repeat in different combinations. The slabs of each floor protrude around their entire circumference by 60 centimetres, easing construction and maintenance of the extensive glass façades. The structure is carried by the core and a regular column-grid that spans up to 14.7 meters. Each quarter of the tower has its own lobby with elevators serving no more than two apartments at a time. For higher efficiency two lobbies share service elevators, MEP risers, and fire escapes.


The mix of apartments of different sizes and types such as simplex, duplex and townhouses with pools are distributed throughout the building to offer a variety of conditions to meet each tenant’s needs and provide each apartment with a unique identity. The apartments generally consist of three areas: a reception, private living spaces, and a service area. The reception opens to a foyer and leads to a grand living room with a spacious area for entertaining, a dining area, and a generous viewing terrace. The private space features a family living room and bedrooms including en-suite bathrooms and walk-in closets. The service area includes a kitchen with storage and laundry room attached and a maid’s bedroom with bathroom. All the main spaces like living rooms and bedrooms consistently provide a generous clear height of 3.4 meters.

Beirut Terraces by Herzog & de Meuron

Above: level 25


Beirut Terraces provides the residents with amenities at the entry level such as a generous spa with pool, sauna, steam and massage rooms and shopping facilities along the boulevard.


Parking is fully split between visitors and residents. The visitors enter by car from north, while the residents’ cars enter through the main gate to the south. Upon entering they first drop off their passengers, and then use the ramps that flank the circular driveway to descend directly to the restricted lower levels. When leaving the building the passengers are picked up in front of the main lobby and exit through the gate.

Project Name: Beirut Terraces
Address: Plot 1801 and Plot 1802, Block 18, Beirut Central District, Lebanon

Project Phases

Competition: March – June 2009
Schematic Design: October 2009 – April 2010
Design Development: April – September 2010
Construction Documents: September 2010 – April 2011
Construction: June 2011 – June 2013

Project Team

Partner: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Stefan Marbach
Project Architect: Tobias Winkelmann (Associate), Ursula Hürzeler
Project Team Competition: Dorothee Dietz, Joris Fach, Dara Huang, Christina Liao, Susanna Rahm, Monica Sedano, Thomasine Wolfensberger
Project Team Schematic Design: Alexandria Ålgård, Julia Jamrozik, Hamit Kaplan, Yusun Kwon, Christina Liao, Sam Nelson, Daniel Rabin, Antonia Weiss, Claudia Winkelmann

Client: Benchmark Development SAL, Beirut, Lebanon


Architect Planning:Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Structural Engineering: Arup, London, UK (SD) / Khatib & Alami, Beirut, Leban (DD)
Mechanical Engineering: Arup, London, UK (50%SD) / Khatib & Alami, Beirut, Lebanon
Electrical Engineering: Arup, London, UK (50%SD) / Khatib & Alami, Beirut, Lebanon
Executive Architect: Khatib & Alami, Beirut, Lebanon


Fire Consultant: Arup, London, UK (Competition), Socotec, Beirut, Lebanon
Landscape Architect: Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture, Broumana, Lebanon
Lighting Consultant: Arup Lighting, London, UK
LEED Consultant: G/ECS, Beirut, Lebanon
Façade Consultant: PP Engineering, Basel, Switzerland


Site Area: 4’422sqm / 47598sqft
Building Footprint: 4’273sqm (base) 2’884sqm (tower) / 45,994sqt (base) 31,043sqft (tower)
Building Dimensions: Base 65,90m x 66,20m / 216 x 216ft
Tower: 53,70m x 53,70m / 177 x 177ft
Height: 119,62m / 392ft
Gross Volume (GV): approx. 309’000 m3 / 10912211 cubic feet
Gross Floor Area (GF): 100’700sqm (incl. basement + terraces) / 1083934sqft
Relation GV/GF: 3.07
Facade Surface 19’500sqm / 209,898sqft
Number of Levels 26 (+1 Plant Level on Roof / +6 Underground)

See also:


56 Leonard Street
by Herzog & de Meuron
by Herzog & de Meuron
All our stories on
Herzog and de Meuron

Posted on Tuesday July 27th 2010 at 12:50 pm by Joe Mills. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • agent p

    Cool, the extended floorplates could function as canopy esp. for climate in Beirut. Next challenge is the maintenance: how to manage the facade cleaning.

  • Kaptain krunch


    Absolutely fantastic building. Makes me think of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but at the same time reducing solar gain in a hot environment. Very intelligent work.

    I really like the current trend for breaking up the conventional building form factor or rectilinearity.

    • ste

      Big terraces help keep the sunlight out… Thats pretty basic. Where’s the intelligence you talk about?

      • ste

        And btw: by using this facade undulation thing they proposed for Leonard street they maximize the glass surface, which is pretty non-intelligent in a hot environment.

  • Lessons learned from 56 Leonard St transformed by virtue of location into a stunning and place making building.

    I'd have one, and there aren't even any plans to look at. Can we see some plans Dezeen ?

  • This building would situate well in Dubai alongside all the other unfinished buildings … multi story carpark with a few windows.

  • It is a smaller updated version of 56 leonard street. But i like it otherwise, and since 56 didn't get totally build it is great!

  • Zaedrus

    Interesting. Might have more visual impact if the structure (especially the 4 corner columns) was less pronounced.

  • composer

    I like it! Although it's big, the structure looks subtle because of its irregularity and bright colour.

  • herzog fan

    It seems that Herzog & de Meuron took the site analysis from the history book of pre schools in Lebanon!!!!! So depressing. Is this really a project for Herzog & de Meuron?!

  • ama

    Beirut doesn't need more skyscrapers for rich Arabs, but more green and public spaces. At least it's a HdM project, though quite disappointing as the design seems to be copied:

  • Steven

    Sexy. I like it. I can't see anywhere the vegetation they suggest provides privacy though… Would be nice to see that particular idea perhaps a little more emphasized.

  • Marketing site with some floorplans here:

  • ADNY

    Is this really Herzog and de Meuron?

  • richard

    I miss Kapoor's sculpture…..

  • Tmill

    Tragically, after a few years it will look like any other modernist concrete slabbed tower from the 50's through the 70's. The plants won't grow, it will turn a dirty yellow from pollution and eventually fade into the concrete jungle.

  • nils0409

    And again, a building without balustrades. They already killed two people this way.

  • That was my question too…

    Such disproportional ugliness. Everything is so voluntarily defined. No taste, no passion… Weird freakish piece of architecture. What’s wrong with architects? Why does such open lack of any aesthetics become a major trend of our days? I am utterly shocked.

    • amsam

      Wow Albert, I just checked your website. Talking about freakishly ugly contemporary architecture, you are in NO position to throw stones.

  • edward

    The open terraces have glass panels for railings. Scary at that height. Otherwise spectacular!

  • Celio

    I dont have words to describe!

    Absolutely Amazing…

  • Great double heights and assuming the views to Beirut look even better with the integration of green.

  • Andy

    "Hey guys. Remember that tower we did in NYC? Let's shorten it, make it's proportions awkward, and make it more plane-y instead of box-y. Done! Cha-ching!"

  • assia

    I am in LA, and although nothing can amaze us,being in the US, truly it is beautiful, I guess because I always loved buildings with a lot of glass and windows. I guess everyone has a different taste.

    • JPS

      LA?!… frankly…have you ever traveled or are you trying to convinced yourself of something?

  • Dominic

    At first glance, this is a horrible looking project. But when u think of it as the person that might be living in it, the spaces created are actually pretty amazing

  • gaque

    A couple of issues:

    – The prominence of the main structural columns really interrupts the overall formal gesture of an aggregated, shifting, erratic floor plate

    – The height/width/depth proportion of the building is surprisingly stocky and rotund. it’s not a nice proportion… something that I expect H&dM to normally address well. The floor plan is a very deep square… not nice.

  • ivan

    Its ok, but looks just like the 2009 overall MIPIM prize winning project of Isay Weinfeld, the 360° apartments… and I already saw another project that goes in this line of design… well, what’s next?

  • I’m looking forward to the day Herzog & de Meuron design an apartment building for Bucharest.

  • claudem

    Who will be cleaning my terrace from the leaves/water falling from the apartment above me?

  • Will

    Love the concept – probably be lauded for stupidity but wondering if there could be a situation if something heavy drops from one balcony onto someone else’s?

  • James

    Thats all fine and dandy but maybe Lebanon should get a government before building another high-rise luxury residential tower which has no connection to its context and which no local can afford to live in, and which will end up vacant after its bought up by oil-rich Arabs from the gulf who only come to Lebanon for a few weeks in the year. Lovely project.

  • Romero

    Absolutely Terrible… H&dM seem to be simply fulfilling the brief of the developer with this anti-urban project….

  • ytzia

    love the materials, the light, the vegetation and the design! i´d be glad to live there….

  • mag111

    Love the planar lines, the glass floating in the sky, broken up with greenery. 129 mid-century modern homes in the sky!

  • li

    wont be build, next war is comming

    it would be better if in Lebanon they would build pavements for pedestrians first…

  • It seems that this whole stacked / fragmented tall building paradigm is wearing out.

  • PIFF

    This is a wrong architecture, Herzog&deMeuron should be more serious when they draw for Beirut. Concrete slabs and glass anyone can design this crab, it seems an ugly copy/paste operation of their 1111 Lincoln road parking building in Miami. All my compliments to the client …

  • William

    To James and Li:

    I think your negative and sarcastic comments regarding Lebanon is not do me debatable as it shows a hate against this remarkable and exceptional country of the middle east.

    Aesthetically the building looks great.

    Regarding the building concept, it is obvious that HDM did not make any effort to design something new for Beirut as the proposed building is a replica of one of their previous project done in the states but in different scale and this is not acceptable.

    By chance the building fits a lot with the near by urban envirnement of Beirut, the integration is perfect with the rest of the towers that has no specific identity.

  • Maysoun

    I like that this building could be considered as a landmark for the city. The concept being founded on five principles: layers and terraces, inside and outside, vegetation, views and privacy, light and identity is absolutely remarkable. The only thing that i found terrible is that the cleaning process of this building will be such a nightmare.

  • Luis

    It’s great to see so many critical comments about this building! Brings the best out in people. Everyone has their own opinion and I like to respect that.

    Personally, I think the building is perfectly in context to all the other high-rise buildings around it. While the exploration of it’s five concepts were a little jaded to me, I still think that it hits its objectives pretty well. Aesthetically, it’s beautiful.

  • nana

    Hi, may I know the prices of the apartment in Lebanon?