Inspired by Italian campaniles and Arabic minarets, Beirut’s new modern art museum is scheduled to open to the public in 2020. Featuring a slender tower rising 124 metres into the sky, the museum has selected the Paris-based Lebanese architect Hala Wardé to oversee the complex on what the project backers describe as “a symbolically charged site that once marked the dividing lines in the Lebanese civil war.”
The art on display will be drawn from 2,300 works from the early 1900s to 2015 including pieces by 470 Lebanese artists collected by Lebanon’s ministry of culture in addition to one thousand works which will form the basis of the museum’s permanent collection.
Many of the works are currently hanging in Lebanon’s presidential palaces, parliament and on the walls of government buildings. With the help of the German embassy, they will undergo varying levels of restoration before being rehung in the new galleries at the base of the tower.
The museum, which will be located on a site owned by the Université Saint-Joseph and includes a sunken garden at its base, will be divided into a dozen 12-metre cubes. The lower three of which will act as circulation spaces for the main galleries while the rest will house a library, temporary exhibition spaces, artists in residence and classes.
Set to open to the public in 2020, Wardé suggests the museum will be a cultural link to the rest of the region as well as the world.