Situated on a historic and symbolic site across from the National Museum in the center of Beirut, BeMA, the new Beirut Museum of Art, will be conceived by Paris-based Lebanese architect Hala Wardé, who was revealed as the winner of an architectural competition on Thursday.
The competition's independent jury of renowned international and regional experts is chaired by Lord Peter Palumbo, Chair of the Pritzker Prize, and included Lord Richard Rogers, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Julia Peyton-Jones, Rodolphe Khoury, Lamia Joreige, Fares Al Dahdah and George Arbid. Until her sudden recent passing Zaha Hadid was also an active member of the jury.
Wardé's design features a sunken garden and will house over 1,000 works drawn from the museum's 2,300-work permanent collection. One notable element is Warde's “totemic tower” that jurors stated would “act as a beacon, evocative of the historical structures of treasury, lighthouse, outlook tower, belvedere and campanile”.
The first exhibition is scheduled to open in 2020.
"One of the most significant developments for Lebanese art and culture in a generation, BeMA is envisioned as a multidisciplinary hub of art and design dedicated to showcasing modern and contemporary Lebanese culture," explains a museum release.