Bernard Khoury: Manifesto #37

My Plan B

I work for the private sector. My clients are involved in private ventures driven by finance and commerce, and this is where I operate. Simply put, I build for the rich. I don’t do social housing; I don’t do governmental projects; I don’t build schools or museums, and I probably never will. But I nevertheless believe that there is much to accomplish in the private sphere. Cities are built by the private sector through projects that are primarily driven by financial profit. This is the reality of every developing city everywhere. Denying this reality will prevent us from taking part in the making of our cities. Relevant architecture should not be limited to exceptional programs such as schools, corporate headquarters of international companies, museums, and public libraries.

Most of what the architectural press and our beautiful design books cover in their polished and well written articles does not affect me.

I find pleasure in the complexity and the difficulties I encounter in the contexts I work in. Sometimes the picture is not so pretty but this is where I choose to be and I don’t want to be anywhere else. You never go to sleep in Beirut. It is a city that keeps you awake.

Originally published in ICON magazine
Issue 404 | 2007

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