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Karantina, Lebanon


DI-Lab, Department of Architecture and Design, American University of Beirut & D4C
Karim Najjar, Sarah Rita Kattan
Omar Al Ayash, Ahmad Abu Daher, Abed Al Haj, Marcelle Fayad, Zuhair ElHajj, Zeinab Tanjir, Mohamad Nazar
Partners & Consultants
Shelsh organization L’Oeuvre d’Orient
Father Hany Tawk


The Karantina neighborhood located adjacent to the port was originally designated for the quarantine of arrivals/immigrants as its name indicates and still houses a considerable number of migrant workers. With its substandard housing structures, it is marked as a forgotten zone at the edge of the city, barely given any attention or support for its community.

The Beirut explosion has severely affected this area. The high level of destruction was accompanied by hyperinflation, economic crisis in Lebanon, and the COVID19 Pandemic further fueling the hardships the community was already suffering from.


Our creative team, in collaboration with the Shelsh NGO, aspires to upgrade and transform a makeshift soup kitchen into a multifunctional, educational, and dynamic relief hub that inspires effective partnerships and community engagement.

The Shelsh organization introduced a generous initiative with the goal of ensuring the availability of food supplies, job opportunities, and an income for the youthful Lebanese. For that purpose, the NGO, represented by Father Hany Tawk has initiated a makeshift soup kitchen project operated by a number of volunteers who prepare 600 to 700 meals per day. These meals serve families facing economic difficulties living in the neighborhood and beyond, as well as workers and volunteers in charge of the rehabilitation of the destroyed houses after the Beirut Blast.

As a focal point, the kitchen organically developed over time, and beneficiaries such as Ma’an lel Hayat NGO have proposed to Father Hany Tawk to use the space to provide educational activities and psychological sessions.

Our objectives are to inspire and empower marginalized communities to seek help as well as learn the process, in such a way that they also become the helpers and generate positive synergies with the community for a sustainable development in the future.

Our proposal is twofold; first we will create a multifunctional community area by designing an impactful and uplifting the outdoor space, and second, we will be rehabilitating the makeshift kitchen to a more efficient and healthy work pace in order to meet the standards of serving a larger community. Altogether, these spaces can become moments of community gathering where people lunch together and benefit from group activities addressing psychology, education, play and livelihood.

Design for Communities (D4C Beirut)

Sadat Street, Aramouny Building, Floor 2
Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon


Organizer: Karim Najjar (Founder/President)
Ministry of Interior Affairs, Lebanon Reg. Nr. 2062