What Not to Do (Part 1)

Posted on November 28, 2011


This is part one of what will become semi-regular series on the blog. Basically, whenever I come across design that makes me shudder, I’ll write up a post to share it with the world and provide a little insight on how to make it better. Enjoy!

Achrafieh 732

Woof. Yeah, those are potted plants…

I came across this building by Bernard Khoury Architects in my daily feed from ArchDaily last week and my eyeballs threw up immediately. I didn’t even know that was possible. It’s really from one specific building element. Can you guess what it is?

Clay pots, hanging from the front of the building.

It totally destroys the modern aesthetic the architects were clearly attempting. Just look at all the clean lines and simple colors. It’s amazing how having just one element out of place can throw the entire design into chaos (probably a bit exaggerated, but you get my point).

The building is in Beirut and I found myself hoping that maybe there’s some sort of cultural significance to placing potted plants on your building facade that would make this horrible decision acceptable. So, if you’re Lebanese or know about Lebanese culture, fill me in because, ugh.

There are so many ways to better incorporate greenery into the building facade. They used living walls (vertical gardens, like in the picture below) in other parts of the project, so what kept them from continuing that on the front of the building. This building was clearly not built on the cheap, as those living walls would suggest, so why do something so blatantly cheap on the FRONT of your building?

The back of the building. That’s how you do it…

So here are my two quickly sketched solutions to make this facade not suck so much. First would be to use the horizontal faux balconies as a long planter box. You could fill it with hanging flowers or vines and it would create a really nice layer of green.

Option 1

Option two would be to use a fractured living wall on the front of the building. You could randomly fill in the diamond spaces between the existing lattice. This would tie in to the living wall on the back side of the building and create large patches of green while simultaneously creating shade and privacy for the tenants without blocking all their views.

Option 2

Two quick and easy design solutions of many that would be better than what was built. How would you make their design better?

Posted in: Architecture