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13 September 2020

NDU’S DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE LENDS A HAND TO MANY INITIATIVES IN THE WAKE OF THE BEIRUT EXPLOSION

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NDU’S DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE LENDS A HAND TO MANY INITIATIVES IN THE WAKE OF THE BEIRUT EXPLOSION

Responding to the Beirut explosion, the Department of Architecture (DoA) at Ramez G. Chagoury Faculty of Architecture, Arts and Design (FAAD) has mobilized its faculty, students, and alumni to contribute to the relief effort. With many contributions on many fronts, here is a small aggregate of some of the work the Department of Architecture has done/is doing to help the relief effort.

Faculty members are being contacted by reporters to talk about the history and character of the devastated areas, and how to reconstruct them. Layla Jabbour, Senior Lecturer at the FAAD, gave a radio interview, and Dr. Christine Mady, Assistant Professor at the FAAD and Chairperson of the Department of Architecture, gave an interview for a National Geographic article on how Beirut is responding to the explosion.

The Order of Engineers and Architects (OEA) in Beirut contacted the DoA through Dr. Nadine Hindi, Assistant Professor at the department, for support regarding restoration works, specifically for heritage buildings. Dr. Maroun Kassab, Assistant Professor and Coordinator at the DoA at the Shouf Campus, and Layla Jabbour who both have experience in restoration, are aiding the effort. Other faculty members, like Kristine Samra, lecturer at the FAAD, are lending their architectural skills to several initiatives on an individual basis.

Many FAAD alumni and students have responded to the call of the NGOs that have emerged to help the crisis. Alumni Lea Hanna (BA’20) and Alexander Ibrahim (BA’20) are both working with UN-Habitat Lebanon, while alumna Krystel Assaker (BA’20) is volunteering with the NGO Nahnoo. Other alumni, like Josee Seif (BA’20), are helping the Collective for Architecture Lebanon (CAL) with an initiative on installing windows.  

Some alumni, like Christel Farah (BA’13), have started their own initiatives. Farah is working intensely on the Quarantina and Rmeil regions of Beirut, and has started a recycling initiative. Other alumni have rallied to support her; all linked through the NDU Architecture Alumni Chapter (AAC) – founded in conjunction with the DoA by alumni Rita Nasr (BA’15) and Razan Mkhoul (BA’14).

With the devastation caused by the explosion, and so much work still to be done, NDU’s faculty, students, and alumni will no doubt continue to rise to the occasion, lending their expertise wherever it is needed most.

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