Charles Hostler Student Center | VJAA | Architecture

Charles Hostler Student Center American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

On the dense, urban campus of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, VJAA created a new multipurpose facility. Located on the public Corniche, a waterfront promenade along the Mediterranean, the Charles Hostler Student Center combines social gathering spaces for students and faculty with sports facilities, an auditorium and amphitheater, a cafe, and underground parking.

With associate firm Samir Khairallah & Partners, VJAA divided the 204,000-square-foot (19,000-square-meter) project into multiple building volumes connected by gardens. The site plan is organized around a series of radial "streets" oriented toward the sea, woven together by a series of courtyards, circulation paths, and spectator areas.

Exterior walls are sandstone-clad masonry cavity wall construction, emphasizing regional stone and masonry techniques. Locally fabricated metal and precast concrete louvers in the glazing systems provide shade, which, along with natural cooling and ventilation, aids in energy efficiency.

"This project uses elements in a thoughtful way to create a rich urban place," praised the AIA architecture jury. "This could have been a monolithic program, but instead the architects created an enlivened urban quarter connecting the campus to the water."