Snøhetta designs Beirut bank with chequerboard walls and rooftop gardens

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Snøhetta designs Beirut bank featuring chequerboard walls and rooftop gardens

Snøhetta has won a competition to design the headquarters of Banque Libano Francaise in Beirut, the firm's first project in Lebanon.

Oslo- and New York-based Snøhetta was selected for the project with a design for a high-rise block with chequerboard-patterned facades. The building will also feature plant-covered terraces carved into the roof and walls.

Snøhetta unveils plans for Beirut bank featuring chequerboard cladding and elevated gardens

The terraces will provide staff at the headquarters of the Lebanese bank Banque Libano Francaise (BLF) with access to outdoor spaces, which the architects hope will become "social hubs" for the institution.

Snøhetta unveils plans for Beirut bank featuring chequerboard cladding and elevated gardens

But the outdoor space and vegetation are also intended as a symbol of sustainability.

"In a time of profound change and transformation, the BLF is an ideal partner for Snøhetta with our shared ideals of sustainability, community, and dialogue," said Snøhetta founding partner Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.

Interiors will feature stepped seating areas, lounges set on platforms and private meeting spaces contained within glass boxes.

Snøhetta unveils plans for Beirut bank featuring checkerboard cladding and elevated gardens

The firm wanted to establish a flexible design for the offices that is both "generic and conceptual" to help create a long-lasting headquarters for the bank.

"It embodies a new future for the bank, as well referencing the rich history and value set that has evolved over generations," it said.

While private offices will be situated towards the top of the structure, the ground level will host public services – indicated by angles cut away in the base of the tower.

Snøhetta unveils plans for Beirut bank featuring checkerboard cladding and elevated gardens

"Maintaining a high degree of permeability at street level is an essential element for the project, ensuring connectivity across the site and with the wider neighbourhood," said the studio.

Snøhetta unveils plans for Beirut bank featuring checkerboard cladding and elevated gardens

Snøhetta is led by Craig Dykers and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. The firm has recently completed an extension of Mario Botta's San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and a series of shops for the skincare brand Aesop.

Snøhetta unveils plans for Beirut bank featuring checkerboard cladding and elevated gardens
Location plan – click for larger image