Karantina, Beirut, Lebanon
Research & Design
Di-lab, D4C & BUL
Karim Najjar & Sarah Rita Kattan
Alaa Atwi, Batoul Chahine, Haya Safadi, Abd Al-Hafiz El-Hajj, Israa Alameh, Hadi Harb
Mira Al-Hajj, Jenny Merheb, Cynthia Deeb
Fondation de France, Cités Unies france, La Guilde, Toufic Mouawad Initiative
D4C and Beirut Urban Lab (BUL) at the AUB have been working with the affected communities since 2020 after the Beirut Blast to improve their living conditions, especially in Karantina. Based on the needs assessment conducted by BUL for the Karantina community that identified the lack of public space, high unemployment rates and the inequality and poverty present in the area, D4C is establishing a community center at the heart of Karantina on municipal land that operates as a safe and empowering space for the local communities.
Nafas serves the entire family members and various generations, providing basic relief as well as long-term assistance like income generating activities. The core operating principles of the center are to: build bridges between the different communities of Karantina, employ neighbors in provided programs, adapt the latter to meet emerging needs and remain grounded in the population of which we are part of and which we strive to serve.
The Community Center opens the municipal land fenced by a wall towards the Karantina neighborhood. It consists of an open courtyard, where multi-purpose functions can take place, connecting different spaces, each containing their own private functions. The courtyard, which acts as a welcoming hub for the community is shaded with an elevated roof, giving the center its own identity. The center will provide a multipurpose room, training spaces, a therapy room, a kitchen and outdoor spaces.
A versatile program will be offered by different NGOs so that the center becomes the prime destination for the local community. It will provide programs and activities based on their needs. An operating NGO will coordinate the activities implemented in the center by the different NGOs and partners, while a community advisory committee is formed to support the operation of the center and ensure its relevance in the coming years.
While reclaiming the public space to the inhabitants of Karantina, creating a meeting point for the diverse neighborhoods, the abandoned structure will be turned into a breathing space for the community.