The Egg: a war-beaten ruin in Downtown Beirut

Between state-of-the-art buildings and upscale stores lies a weird building in Downtown Beirut called “the egg.” Some people like to refer to it as “the dome” or “sabouneh” (soap) due to its shape “The egg” was initially part of a commercial complex designed by the Lebanese architect

Joseph Philippe Karam

in 1965. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10159011625075034&set=p.10159011625075034&type=1&opaqueCursor=AbrUnGphZ-dVz5YdOXr7YX4XU-yz-HqUAhRXFRF8rWZQsLGSWOz3ADiy0AGOrBKy_pC0XwgI-3ioICzD5pZjkVvrpo7wB02QZjPcKQ38whWVZHzfILrzmfUHoeUZT7E34h75FQPetf5kbeOcC_Mmspmo_72S_jcw9mmGmPfPKphJNu6zbOBdS7x1cARRu6pGKzLPAFNSIwvHUZ_uDuioTBl3z2dk_trI7ETIc0zR6TCt_6WinT6QCyx71sOzAjXaSpY3ZIpA67ob-w-01GbXImV7kpcU2eiQxizUHq62yVhLrMNuJqjk2PDyFjddN4MYuZjC3Dz42pPJk-qMPHqslX27fGfynrJ9Q90OlSrxLjrMB0Mv50NoqMvH_B_P3o07ypUoSj7pfjQbcewVzVqP–31oSs1ZIov4QYFFyEmohdtmJAmVv0OeIjeGgBf_xWsMWsql5bC0HOP1AYpczJzhDRP&theater   The complex, which was called “Beirut City Center,” was designed to contain a shopping mall, a movie theater, and office spaces. It was supposed to be the largest shopping mall in the Middle East. The dome was a small part of the design, which also featured two high towers. When the civil war started in 1975, the commercial center was still unfinished. The dome and only one tower were built. However, the tower was destroyed, much like most of the buildings in Beirut, leaving the egg to its unknown fate. https://www.facebook.com/LIVEL0VECINEMA/photos/p.1755670827996132/1755670827996132/?type=1&opaqueCursor=AbqZ701sy0yA6XV0EYSGQbabZOqg_OA3kcV5yghQiEaaogdaTLbVl_53ETf0Y63HV1kWNgU7-a_b-ngK9IoL4BCHe4eIGQYfB5Bn8XrvWSv5SVFdNzbNaUKgLSeUaAu1LEkR5GoPcDUQlxhZsph8OfzqGqvXnHKgBmS6djSEFXJOI1z8fDuq_yihBpy9Z4M4YhLXD2qVO1h47eI3fAoiI8t-e9-WJl8R7TspM-PJITjciPGNN5cx-5VlWcYl6VyIMGhVxV-HGa3uwn5ziTu1ihmlKMDi4tNvKN0y0K8F9H5qp2if0pOpaYkFv4TfbdU0oeqs7xDOP_B2tJxEtAbwAeV2IMudX7LDvzUuyaSwWRinAIcqU-FFgi_1Zdd9cM7qSEjyc_0f1GZqqy94ZIxrqFMw&theater   To preserve this landmark, we should not only protect it from demolition but also find a way to revive it. Some architects do not see the value of the egg while it is highly valued among Lebanese citizens since it reminds them of the pre-war era. A Lebanese photographer named Anthony Saroufim

suggested

turning the egg into a camera obscura. Bullet holes would be transformed into optical devices by placing lenses in the voids. So, the light piercing these lenses will reflect the exterior landscape to the inside. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=964556923633596&set=pcb.964557056966916&type=3&theater   The French architect Christian de Portzamparc has a different vision. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10159805629195497&set=p.10159805629195497&type=1&opaqueCursor=Abq9eKpvDRsHFUHJmqLhKBhPDvv82PV6cbKNL7Slz7OHXARzjU6OR-eQpTc7HBF6dVEIgQlgMQStZ9u89YGWTIIxOadWlZjXZTOdA57B4lmGQ-IuTmuT5j8gxtsv2q4yfQCDDQUZ75oQIyhvRm2xjkrJJuCUG6Bnk7cJ4qtlTAAHWmZFXvRan1dUdvT_1s1IoyMiEuTApoD5wkXC-5YTqNGv2InFj0x2WCDHxGgbeNCyKEeOFy3LhfL5ywZy2Vvb0ewZM15CxDA7g5QknX7FaSc14x_1WEPPJqxVKyvdAMnHsvvhZPq56dvnFyEZ8acg7B3kzOsVcEYtwZxz0Bq1UZJ_Hc5HiHB-W6aHYFYjHxm3SsFpF7GWr2M_zhqbbdb_QOZMq0_EP87AsDbI2K-Ws6YOT4XYVtXQkMpv6PPNNGW2JHAxsc3sh8nFK-tp-tLDinVnFL47-56Ma68gwsFPCgSA&theater   How would you try to revive the egg?