BLC Headquarters by Atelier Hapsitus


BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

Lebanon architects Atelier Hapsitus's proposed design for the new headquarters of the BLC bank in Beirut would cantilever over the existing building.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

The existing BLC headquarters would be renovated and connect with the new building at basement level.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

The gateway form of the new BLC headquarters would allow the existing building to retain its views and also eventually be removed.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

The new building is supported on columns at first-storey level to leave plenty of civic space underneath.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

The design is one of two schemes shortlisted for a final competition to be decided in two months.

Here's some more from the architects:

Selected as co-finalist

The project consists of the creation of a landmark for the city of Beirut, extending the existing building without destroying it. We created a project whereupon the new structure shares the corner with the existing building and cantilevers above it.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

The presence of the existing building at the corner of the site was an enigma to us. It had the key position on the site, although it was not necessarily the most appropriate image for the BLC new headquarters.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

Above: The existing BLC building

In order to resolve this issue, we created a project whereupon the new structure shares the corner with the existing building and cantilevers above it. In this way, the different expressions of old and new become complementary, working together in symbiosis.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

Our proposal for the BLC headquarters strives to reflect the history of the bank and project its future with a design strategy that responds intuitively to the site. Like the new administration of BLC, we have chosen to adopt the existing structure, streamline it, correct its dysfunctional aspects, and celebrate it as the departure point for a dynamic, sophisticated and unique composition growing around and above it.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

We believe that BLC Bank is best represented by a project that opens itself visually to the urban fabric with alluring spaces and landscape, rather than the hermetic and alienating facades that often characterize large corporations. The streetscape we have conceived gives the image of a bank which is progressive, has a civil consciousness and offers a quality environment to clients and employees alike.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

The design of the project is an unselfconscious gesture shaped by the site itself and the needs of the project. We toyed with forms and ideas until an intuitive, almost spontaneous shape imposed itself; a process which gives the design an edge of unconventionality.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

The total project is an arresting visible landmark that thrusts the bank headquarters into the 21st century in all ways possible. It is innovative in design, in its integration of the existing building, in the way it addresses the site, in its use of sustainability, in forward-thinking social facilities, and in its bold structural solution which makes the design possible.

BLC Landmark by Hapsitus Architects

Click above for larger image


ARUP London for structural studies.
ZEF London for sustainability and low energy studies.

See also:


China Central Television
Headquarters by OMA
Alpha Project by
Xavier Vilalta Studio
All our stories
about skyscrapers

Posted on Monday August 23rd 2010 at 8:07 am by Joe Mills. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Alain

    Cantilevering a tower over an existing one! WOW! and you make it look so easy guys! Congratulations! It definitely deserve the first prize. Good Luck…

  • edward

    The tail is wagging the dog. Demo the existing building and do it right.

  • Paul

    A decent idea in theory but it just doesn't work with the site. One, the new bldg and the old bldg, awkwardly, do not align like in the diagrams. (Just remove the upper tower. Sure, it may start looking like a knock off CCTV but it will be better)

    Two, is the new bldg getting ready to sit down on the old one or worse yet, just getting up?

  • oren

    whats so special about the older building that the new design should go to such lengths to save it from demolition ??

  • Fizz in architecture

    Why such a cantilever?
    What happen when the old building get demolished?

  • As an idea it is a fantastic experiment.
    All those studies, sketches and schemes are cool.
    Model is nice but something is missing… Maybe it is getting closer to reality?
    3D renderings in terms of architectonic are not aesthetically inspiring at all…
    What it's gonna be when it's built?

  • Felix

    what's the point in them having this complicated structural connection when there's no other connections?

  • Nick

    Is it just me or does it look like it's squatting down to take a dump?

    • eto

      I don´t know… but it is just unnecessary all the operations made… I guess…

      • polly

        i agree with the squatting comment. really does look like this

    • Suo

      The CCTV in Beijing is criticized for that.

      The Upper Tower looks like a human torso

  • logorithm

    The site is so big I don't see the rational for it to cantilever over the existing building in that manner. Most awkward is the 'key support core'. It is only something if they can do away with the core.

  • CPCP

    It looks like it was designed by a kid….. and look! It was!

  • soraya

    WAW !! it will be fantastic if this happens in my city Beirut. Du jamais vu …

  • JP

    Good luck Nadim

  • Sam

    so much no elegant gymnastics to save an exisitent building with no value.

    And please do not compare it with CCTV. Not even close of a rip off.

  • actually better

  • AM

    It’s more Max Reinhardt Hous than CCTV…

  • Anas (Civil Enginner)

    I t is about time that we see in Beirut such challenging structures and yet beautiful – regards for great minds

  • polly

    whoa just a kid and already thinking about cantilever architecture! someone snap this little guy up ASAP!

  • aline

    Do we need a new dubai in Beirut with Hapsitus version? or we go for a symbolic icon of Tohme? check tohmes version:

    Wasn’t the purpose of the competition to create a new IDENTITY?
    do we need to design a huge tower revolving around some low quality existing building or in Tohme’s case we just erase the old rusty image and bring to life a new one? which one of these two create a new image/identity to the bank and to the city… PITY THE NATION

    • alain

      This is not a Dubai building aline! if you want a true dubaii building go and check out "the Cloud" of atelier Hapsitus!
      and have you even seen Tohme's version?!?! what's so special about it?! i think it's too bulky and it doesn't even erase the old building! and sorry to say this but it has low architectural impact on the city!
      but we all agree about the old building demolition! it would be a pitty if they leave it after the construction of the new one.

      • aline

        i was just raising the question about the two proposals not preferring one over the other..though i lean towards tohme on just one reason simplicity.

        but in both cases look at the scale. it is crazy.. in both submissions, but tohme's version is still simple the other one trying to do something based on a weak base, if the old bldg was a 300-400 y old structure maybe it will be justified but it is based on a very very ugly element . and the architect himself admitted that and said you can demolish it after some time but if this is the case than y u propose a whole concept based on this can-be demolished bldg. ? with a wanna be OMA architecture??

  • ttt

    I like it! And the LEGO (I know it´s probably DUPLO but who gives a flying F*ck)thing is just adorable :)

  • Archimaniak

    This is the Lebanese macho version of the OMA CCTV building…
    I LOVE IT!!!

  • alain

    About the old building issue, i think it is a constraint given by the BLC bank administration. Otherwise of course the old building has no architectural value and it wouldn’t show in all the architects proposals…

    and it’s true that it looks a lot like the CCTV by OMA but with an added structural challenge: the tower above the cantilevering part…

    I find it good to have challenging projects in Beirut and that can be seen and criticized internationally. It’s about time…

  • n.m.

    (1 of 3)
    Dear Hapsitus/NK;
    The project has so much potential and the displayed images and model would be better a phase 1 of 2 phases' project; the intent would be to avoid having downtime for BLC operations.
    Ideally, the images are Phase One, with the following scenarios:
    Scenario 1: (Without the existing building)
    Phase One:
    -The new building is erected, while the existing building is operational

    Phase Two:
    -Once completed, the existing building is demolished and a landscaped/public space plaza remains. It is the reverse urban reading of the site from what was: Now the most prominent area is left as a mediation between the public and the bank. This urban setback has Miesian precedent in the Seagram and more the base of the Citigroup center in Manhattan, where the building cantilevers over a public sunken plaza, with subway connections access, intertwined with building access, and other commercial facilities (cafes and shops).

  • n.m.

    Scenario 2: (With the existing building modified)
    Phase One:
    -The new building is erected, while the existing building is operational

    Phase Two:
    -The existing building is recladded (shades of grey, see renderings) and a fourth matching surface is added with equal punches and same finish, to hide the wedge/curved façade; this is to neutralize the building. The building will be a hermetic box with punches, akin to an Aldo Rossi rationalist structure with muted geometries and materialities. Between the curved glazed façade (changed the smoked glass) and the new building square-punched out openings façade, communal outdoor terraces are added intermittently to work with the new logic of the building(s) circulation/program. Otherwise, the old BLC structure is not worth keeping.
    -Bridges between the old structure and the new structure criss-cross to complete the new logic of circulations/program.
    -Possibly a plinth on the ground levels with a cultural program is added to create a covered public space with cultural venue on the ground level, sponsored by BLC.

  • n.m.

    One thing to re-examine is the core as it portrays a literal connection to the plaza which could have easily been incorporated in the faceted fluid structure and maybe disturbed positively its seeming symmetry, which does not show in the photomontages, but more in the axo diagrams.

    References to look at: OMA’s proposal for the Whitney extension, keeping in mind the architectural value of Manhattan brownstones vs. a Beirut suburban postmodern building of no architectural value.

    YTA scheme, with all its internal programmatic promises, is another NG on steroids… do we really need this, even if the 'rendering-quality' is better? Also, the reference of a ‘dungeon’ for a bank is a bit bleak in a country like Lebanon, that within a blink could sway either way: dream or doom; the first proposal goes the first way, the latter the other way.

  • Bashar Al Shawa

    I cant believe the amount of lies in this text. How could this shape possibly reflect the history of the bank and projects its future? You mean that one is supposed to learn about the history of the bank just by looking at this proposal? Well I don't know about the others, but sadly, that wasn't the case with me. Same thing about sustainability or "The streetscape we have conceived gives the image of a bank which is progressive". It is full of things that dont have any proof.

    I hope that architectural firms stop lying.