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Media & Cultural City

Tripoli, Libya

The orientation and its location within the centre of Tripoli helped shape the location of each of the uses within the site.

The need to provide shelter from the heat was paramount in shaping the concept for this masterplan. The city is dominated by the car; our counterpoint was to provide an articulated roof that provides shade and cooling from the local sea water poured from one umbrella to another.  Using the wind, this natural evaporative cooling provides a lower temperature at street level.

The orientation and location of the site provided the clues for the rest of the masterplan layout.  The city has grown over a number of generations and under different leadership and this has left a historic layering to the grain of the city.  We used this grain to provide, cultural uses in a larger grain, residential uses in a smaller grain and vast scale media buildings as a heat buffer to the south.

Opera House
At the centre of the masterplan sits the Opera House.  The form grows out of the umbrella grid of the masterplan. Quite simply the height of the umbrellas relates to the functions beneath.  The entrance of medium height allows free movement around the base of the building, whereas the auditorium and the fly tower require greater height.  This architectural honesty provides a non-building aesthetic to the opera house itself.  The boundary between the street and the building blurred to prevent the extreme difference between conditioned and non-conditioned space. Ice storage in the basement provides a method of controlling internal humidity as well as cooling for the building.

Project Data:  
Client:  ECOU Tripoli
Area:  24ha
Awards:
  • Winner of MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards 2008 – Big Urban Project

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