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Renzo Piano designing Beirut Historical Museum in city's downtown

May 01

 Renzo Piano designing Beirut Historical Museum in city's downtown

The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, has announced plans for a new museum of antiquities, which will be designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.

The Beirut Historical Museum will be constructed in the capital’s downtown area, running from Martyrs Square to the waterfront.

Funded in part by the state of Kuwait, it will house archaeological artefacts from a host of civilisations, from the Bronze Age onwards. Exhibits will include objects unearthed in the 1990s by Unesco.

According to Devdiscourse, Piano has designed a 12,000sq m (129,000sq ft), seven storey stone and glass building that will take three years to build.

In a statement at the launch ceremony for the project, Hariri said: 'As we build a modern city, we are keen to preserve the heritage, because preserving identity and history is a solid foundation for building the future.”

The Lebanese culture minister, Ghattas Khoury, has also unveiled plans for the development of downtown Beirut and the addition of more museums throughout the country.

Projects previously confirmed include BeMA: Beirut Museum of Art, designed by Lebanese French architect Hala Wardé on a symbolically charged site in the heart of the city that once marked the dividing lines in the Lebanese civil war and is now to be transformed into a site of unification.

The design’s most striking feature is a central campanile tower that will rise high nearly 400ft (122m) above the base of the museum to act as a cultural beacon for the entire city.

Meanwhile, in 2015 art collector and luxury retailer Tony Salamé opened his own private museum – the Aishti Foundation – in a new mall twenty minutes from downtown Beirut. The 40,000sq m (430,500sq ft) terracotta-red building, by British architect David Adjaye, contains a spa, restaurants, cafes, luxury boutiques, a curated bookshop and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the Lebanese capital.

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