Is there anything to say about Beirut beyond the obvious, and by now exhausted, lessons of post-war reconstruction and identity politics? What is a “Beirut normal” ? Is it worth examining?
The lecture puts forward these questions not in order to diminish the city’s architectural output but to reveal aspects of the city that have been overwhelmed by the discourses of war and politics. Through a series of specific architectural and urban analyses, the lecture proposes that a certain urbanism could be derived out of seemingly unrelated attributes of the city such as the speculative intensities of development, Beirut’s geography between countryside and Mediterranean, and its insatiable pursuit of “a worldly aesthetic.”