Part of a commercial center that housed a hotel, rental apartments, offices, and shops, Grand Théâtre is a building of historical significance to the city of Beirut.
The abandoned site, also known as "Le Grand Théâtre des Milles et Une Nuits", was designed by Lebanese civil engineer and architect Youssef Aftimos and built in 1929 by Jacques Tabet, a poet, and lover of theater.
The original Italian theater, which hosted a number of small shows, performances and events in its glory years was converted into a cinema and had later fallen into disrepair and finally abandoned during the civil war.
The Grand Théâtre opened in 1929 with a French musical called ‘No, No, Nanette,’ adapted from a Broadway success. The theater later hosted the Comédie Française, the Ballet des Champs-Elysées, the Egyptian Ramses Group, and concerts by Abdel Wahab and Umm Koulthoum.
The horseshoe-shaped auditorium of the theatre accommodated 630 seats with an orchestra, two balconies, and machinery for stage sets.
A domed ceiling with decorated stained glass covered the lobby.
To honor the Grand Theater’s memory, and after years of studies to determine its best use, Solidere proposed to restore the old structure in its original design as a boutique hotel with the theater as its central piece.
The new proposal promises to become a spectacular destination, with the original charm and drama of the theater preserved.
Main façades have been restored and footings strengthened. The overall massing offers an interesting contrast with the historic core streetwall alignments and addresses modern neighbors in Ghalghoul.