DI-Lab, Department of Architecture and Design, American University of Beirut & D4C
Karim Najjar, Sarah Rita Kattan
Abed Al Haj, Marcelle Fayad, Sara Karam, Nora Osseiran
Partners & Consultants
Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate Church
Crossing Together yeam of volunteers
The Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate in Lebanon together with the Design 4 Community NGO (D4C) and the Design Impact Laboratory (DI-Lab) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) joined forces to respond to the tragic events that haunted Beirut and the country in the past 12 months. This catastrophic event od the Beirut explosion has also exponentially increased the hardship of communities living around the port.
As an initial pilot project, the first ‘Crossing Together’ community center was established in the heart of Rmeil, one of Beirut’s most affected neighborhoods by the explosion at the port. The center is set in a former food market shop that was destroyed and abandoned after the blast. Considering the precarious conditions of this densely populated neighborhood in the city, the creation of a community center is in high demand. Reaching out to one thousand families, ‘Crossing Together’ has become a hub providing food supplies, psychological and emotional support to the elderly and traumatized individuals, assistance to persons who suffer from inequalities and violence, particularly women and children, and educational activities. Beneficiaries are from all age groups, ethnical and religious backgrounds.
The design of the place follows the strong belief that spatial qualities of an environment are key to the healing process. It puts human well-being and dignity at its core aiming to drive forward a sustainable recovery of the Rmeil neighborhood.
A communal space was designed with industrial reused and upcycled materials at the forefront of the community center where gatherings, workshops and training sessions are held. To suit the variety of functions the center has to offer, lightweight and easily moveable sustainable furniture are used within the main space. The space is adaptable and adjustable to the comfort of its community, while considering the importance of social distancing and health and safety precautions during the pandemic.
The goal is to create a safe and sane monitored space that helps grow the sense of humanity and connect Rmeil’s hard hit community together.