Adonis Diaries

A “Wonder Forest” in concrete Beirut? How funny

Posted on: February 21, 2012

A “Wonder Forest” in concrete Beirut? How funny

Wassim Melki from StudioInvisible is suggesting to grow tree on Beirut rooftops. Why?

There are no spaces left to grow anything green. Tall concrete building for the rich expatriates and the Gulf Emirs are mushrooming and disfiguring the landscape. 

Old building are left to crumble and kill its inhabitants to construct new highrises… Literally, that’s what’s happening: Many buildings crumbled, killing scores of people, because owners wanted to sell the expensive land

Type:Conceptual Proposal


Architect:Wassim Melki

Sir Mark Sykes, on his last visit to Beirut, said:

“In a city of concrete, a city stranger to green spaces, a city where sidewalks like roads have been carjacked, a city where a dark smog looms over daily, you’d figure, there’s more to rooftops than rooftop bars”.

Proposal to the Municipality of Beirut
Beirut is a concrete and pollution mayhem. Ironically, the high pollution levels are not caused by the industries that we do not have, or by the crippled political system, or by armed militias or by foreign interferences…, but instead, it is a problem from within the populace itself, which has proven throughout the years to be uncooperative and inconsiderate towards its surrounding.
The people in Beirut reject the mere idea of replacing the Humvee with a smaller car, or the “blasphemy” of riding a bike to work.
Given the circumstances, the most pragmatic solution will be to have a municipal decree that requires each building to grow its simple rooftop garden.
Harsh fines will be necessary.
Nothing fancy, just a couple of trees in a large fixed pot on each rooftop.
As incentives to the urban population, the municipality can offer tax incentives or benefits to the buildings that have a well maintained rooftop garden.
The gardening/plant companies could offer discounts and sponsorship, and later claim that they turned Beirut green (we can already predict their campaigns).
There are many types of trees that can grow in the Beirut climate to 3-4 meters high in a simple 1 meter pot.
Trees such as the olive tree, the Schinum Molle, Morus Alba, Melia azaderachh, Punica Granatum, Etc…
In order to prevent these trees from falling in case of high winds, they could be connected by three steel wires to the roof slab.
The advantages of having this done on a large scale are many:
1. Better oxygen levels and a healthy environment is the first that comes to mind,
2. a layer of trees will provide shade and accordingly soften the increasingly hot and arid climate, which in turn would lead to a lower level of energy consumption.
3. semi public green spaces will be created for the respective residents of each building,
4. increasing even further the quality of living within the city itself.
5. depending on the choice of trees and plants, these gardens can evolve into a sort of urban farming, yielding a small but valuable agricultural output.

Ultimately, if the plan works out, Beirut could become a rooftop wonder forest, the whole city as a Landmark.

StudioInvisible is a multidisciplinary design consultancy working in the fields of Urban Planning, Architecture, Interior & product Design, Visual Branding and Political Science,

It aims to provide the world with Avant-Garde Design interventions as well as in-depth Cultural, Social and Political guidance.

Composed of Architect and Urban Designer Wassim Melki, Colonel Sir Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot, the studio is an open platform for debate and thought-sharing.

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February 2012

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