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visual arts
Asia, Europe
Germany, Lebanon
Architecture and Memory: Beirut-Berlin
Bernard Khoury, Ghassan Salhab,
Hartmut Häussermann
Admission: 4 Euro, concessions 2,50 Euro
civil war, history, remembrance
Club "BO18", Bernard Khoury

How do architects cope with memory in cities destroyed by war? Both Berlin and Beirut suffered war and destruction, followed by a reconstruction which raised the question of how to visualize the city's history in the urban landscape. The Jewish Museum, the Holocaust Memorial, the Reichstag Dome and the Berlin Palace represent a number of different architectural attempts to integrate collective memory into the landscape of the capital. In Beirut, by contrast, an effort seems to be made to gloss over the civil war. Entire housing complexes have been torn down and replaced by new buildings bearing no relationship to the history of the city.

The Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury has chosen a completely different approach. His new buildings make the city's past visible. Thus, when designing the Beirut club "B O18", he integrated the historical fragmentation of its environment both spatially and optically. Built on the site of a former Palestinian refugee camp, the bunker construction reveals views of the surface through sliding roofs, bringing to light the history that smoulders underground. This is especially significant in Beirut, where intentional amnesia (on the part of the former warring parties and present ruling partners) and the memory demanded by artists and intellectuals create a constant state of tension.

Along with Bernard Khoury, the Beirut film director Ghassan Salhab and the Berlin urban sociologist Hartmut Häussermann will take part in the discussion. Salhab's films repeatedly revolve around the themes of "memory - forgetting - forgiving" - and around the city of Beirut, its architecture, its repeated destruction and its permanent rebirth.

Language: Arabic and German with simultaneous translation

Contact: Michael Thoss

Text Johannes Odenthal
Text Ghassan Salhab