N.B.K. Residence 2, Loft in Beirut

This Bernard Khoury-designed Loft in Beirut gives elevated design a whole new meaning: amidst a city filled with mid-rise buildings, a modern industrialist rooftop residence will definitely catch your eye.

Sitting right in the middle of the war-swept Mediterranean coast of the Levant, with the scars of conflict and violence still visible in its urban tissue, the city of Beirut, despite all the difficulties it has faced, is now home to a flourishing design and architecture scene.

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A perfect example of what the city’s design and crafts scene can indeed achieve is the N.B.K Residence 2 by architect Bernard Khoury and his firm, DW5. Literally perched atop a nine-storey building adjacent to the infamous Green Line (the dividing buffer zone that used to split the city into the West/Muslim and East/Christian parts), the residence is in fact the architect’s own home, and as such it reflects his continuous experimentations and accumulated experience in interior design techniques, all in close collaboration with local artisans and design specialists.

It is less a connected penthouse, and more of an independent home that happens to be perched atop a building — it almost appears detached, floating above the rest of the structure.

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The first floor and a mezzanine comprise the main volume of the living areas (including a spectacular double-height lobby and living room with generous views to the city), while a guest house, maid’s room, swimming pool and roof-garden terrace are situated on the topmost level. Wooden panel cladding has been used to cover interior floors and walls, in a technique that comes from experimentations in previous projects and was executed in collaboration with carpenter Doumit Tannous. The strong presence of wood has been complemented with black-painted steelwork: the ribbon-like spiral staircase, the mezzanine structure, the bookshelves in the lobby and the signature antenna-lights on top of the building were all created by Beirut-based design studio Acid (especially the latter shine like beacons at night, making the residence stand out as a landmark in the surrounding area).

Loft in Beirut interior

Expansive and unobstructed, the main living area makes a powerful impression through the mixed usage of wood cladding and black steelwork. In addition to a stunning private rooftop pool, the three levels of space include a kitchen and dining room, guest studio, additional bedrooms, a floor-to-ceiling library, and separate quarters for all your various live-in staff.

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Another interesting feature of this Beirut loft is the industrial-looking structure embedded in the ceiling of the living area, which contains all of the room’s ventilation and air-conditioning equipment.  Despite its look, the piece was in fact conceived as a continuation of the classical treatment of ceilings in architecture, where frescoes in similar ovoid shapes would decorate the main halls and lobbies of luxurious residences. This singular piece points to that tradition, since it is actually made of plaster, painted black to match the surrounding steelwork.

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