Manipulating Sour Realities

architect Bernard Khoury
interviewed by Dinko Peračić and Mira Stanić

Bernard Khoury is one of the most interesting Arab architects of today, both in terms of the architectural scene and the powerbroker investors. He returned to Beirut after graduating with an ma from the Harvard University in the 1990s, and already in his first projects faced a conceptual and material paralysis of the architectural activity in the aftermath of the Lebanon civil war. The only space that welcomed his radical answers was the entertainement industry and therefore, in 1998, he designed a legendary underground nightclub B018 – part building, part gadget, nestled into the Quarantaine neighbourhood (place where the city scars were especially visible), whose sliding roof opens towards the unstable Beirut sky. Almost two decades later, residential projects form the majority of his work, but in this developer standardized typology Khoury successfully breathes performative elements and a tendency towards the experiment, which marked his earlier projects. Khoury is a gadgetist, more interested in the precise mechanical systems than in the magnificent play of masses brought together in light.