Project profile: Charles Hostler Student Center
The Charles Hostler Student Center on the campus of the American University of Beirut provides a model for environmentally responsive design that meets the social needs of the campus and the larger region. Situated on Beirut's seafront and main public thoroughfare, the new 204,000 ft2 facility houses competitive and recreational athletic facilities for swimming, basketball, handball, volleyball, squash, exercise and weight training. The space also includes an auditorium with associated meeting rooms, cafeteria with study space, and underground parking for 200 cars.
Responding to the scale of the campus' existing buildings and outdoor spaces, the team challenged the University's original plan for a single large-scale building and similarly scaled open plaza. Instead, they proposed multiple building volumes connecting a continuous field of habitable space with gardens on multiple levels. These building volumes are further organized around a network of radial "streets," oriented toward the sea and woven together by a series of courtyards, circulation paths, and spectator areas, negotiating the elevation change from the upper campus to the seafront. To preserve the significant existing landscape, buildings were sited to maintain existing trees. The design for the new Hostler Center synthesizes architecture and landscape to create a set of richly varied and environmentally diverse spaces where people may gather throughout the day and into the evening.
(2009 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects recipient)