A Lever for Negotiating the Revitalization of the Historic City of Tripoli

Respecting the past while walking towards the future, the story of the project will be narrated using the remaining letters of the site, consisting of: A municipal department dedicated to the management of the historic city of Tripoli, a school of design and artisanship, and a rehabilitation of Hammam Al-Nouri as a touristic center.
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Designer(s) : Hanadi Chaarani

University : Azm University

Tutor(s) : Prof. Jamal Abed, Arch. Halah Abi Haydar

The historic area of Tripoli is under constant stress due to a dysfunctional infrastructure and several economic, legal, social, and demographic pressures that are having their toll on its physical fabric.

This is manifested through the large number of historic buildings that are under the threat of extinction due to structural failure and/or problematic modernization/additions on both the urban and building levels.

The premise of my thesis is based on the fact that the craftsmanship and the cultural/aesthetic affinity that were responsible for the production of such a heritage is lost and the current education of architecture design is ill-directed to produce the necessary breed of architects who is apt in the gargantuan effort to rehabilitate and revitalize this cultural heritage.

My final year project proposes the following functional insertions to form the necessary lever for negotiating the revitalization of the historic area, namely:

    1. A municipal department dedicated to the management of the historic city will be entrusted to work with different stakeholders on the preservation and the sustenance of the tightly knit building structures
    2. A school of design and artisanship that produces the expertise of the authenticity of the crafts needed to restore such a rich heritage.
    3. Rehabilitation of Hammam Al-Nouri lost between the randomness of that region to become a touristic centre

Located around the vicinity of al-Mansouri Great Mosque, the site was chosen inside the historic city as a way to involve the local dwellers in the decision-making, engage a few of the historic monuments to unravel common challenges, and create such insertion of the necessary ripple effect triggering a positive transformation on the public domain of the surrounding area.

The conceptual approach of the project is to respect the past while walking towards the future. the story of this project will be narrated using the remaining letters of the site: each wall, façade, historical element, even a wall crack, each feeling they carry, and each story they trigger will be respected and kept to restore the memory of the site and to build within it the memory of the future.

The main challenge was to build in the heart of such a historical city without being neither dominant nor imitative. Hence, the project orientation was to look for a façade with openings that are not foreign to the site: the arabesque pattern, which was used in the Mcharabiya and is present widely in the historic city of Tripoli, will be adopted in the project. Digging deeper, each pattern of the arabesque on the façade will represent craftsmanship. As time passes, and we climb the stairs, we are witnessing the rise of our craftsmanship as they start to appear after fading, letting the historic city rise again.