In a bid to advance gender equity in Lebanon, Beirut-based Anastasia Elrouss Architects has proposed the Vertical Eco-Village: Urban Lung of Beirut, a three-pronged proposal that centers on the M Tower, a 14-story, greenery-covered tower in the eclectic suburb of Chyah. Designed with a structural concrete shell fitted with recycled wooden partitions, the tower would comprise residences as well as spaces for workshops, retail and agricultural functions on the lower levels. The tower, in conjunction with an off-site wooden pavilion and urban farm, would function as a vocational training and cultural center specifically aimed at empowering Lebanese women through agricultural and self-sustainable skill building.
Proposed for a 900-square-meter site at the intersection of two suburban streets, the M Tower emphasizes flexibility and adaptability with open-floor apartment plans that can be uniquely configured by residents into single-floor apartments, duplexes or penthouses with varying amounts of urban gardening space. Pocket gardens and linear terraces wrap around the tower to provide panoramic views of the city and reduce the urban heat island effect.
“The building takes on the appearance of a single structural vertical planted element extending the busy city life,” the architects explained. “The intervention is a vertical green landmark revealing a unified structure whose multilayered facades are acting as a protective translucent shell vis-a-vis the street and the surrounding buildings.” For self-sufficiency, the tower would be equipped with photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels, a rainwater harvesting and storage system and natural underground water storage for irrigation and domestic use.
The training and retail facilities, operated by the Warchee NGO, would occupy the lower levels and could include urban farming areas, carpentry workshops, mushroom farming, a vegetable cannery and a vegetable market. The tower’s agricultural production areas would be complemented by the project’s two other satellite locations — Beirut Park’s renovated wooden pavilion and an urban farm — that would be connected to each other via electric shuttle.
Images via Anastasia Elrouss Architects