American University of Beirut

AUB develops a new project all while preserving the architectural heritage of Ain Mreisse

The American University of Beirut has purchased lot 471 in Ain Mreisse, on which AUB intends to develop a new project as an extension to its campus.  

This lot figures a two-story house that has been neglected over the years. The Ground Floor of the house dates back to the early 1900s with its modest triple arches, high ceilings and sand stone construction. The second floor is an extension that was added at a later stage using concrete without any inherent architectural value. 

AUB keeps its pledge to the preservation of the history of Ras Beirut. For this reason, AUB has obtained a permit from the Ministry of Culture, Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) to carefully dismantle the Ground Floor of the house all while numbering and keeping its architectural components for reassembling at a later stage to be integrated within the new project. 

Mona Hallak, Director of the Neighborhood Initiative at AUB, explained that the architectural quality of the house has been compromised when the extension was built. 
Director of Facilities at AUB, Bassem Barhoumi, explained the process of dismantling the Ground Floor of the house. 

“We will preserve all the heritage elements, from stones, to arches, to outer and inner doors, windows, internal tiling, etc, under the supervision of preservation specialists,” said Barhoumi. “As part of the new project, AUB intends to reassemble the saved elements respecting its architectural value to reuse in the new building.”

In the small garden in front of the house, an old mulberry tree with fruits on its branches has grown all the way to the first floor balcony. The AUBotanic team will save the tree and transport it to be planted on the main campus temporarily, until it finds its way back to the original site. 

“The memory of this house and its architectural heritage will be preserved,” added Barhoumi. 

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