The Cube – an innovative project by Dutch firm Orange architects. It is a differently standing 50m tall luxurious residential tower in the hills of Beirut, Lebanon. The structure raises a completely new bar to the concept of high rise and architecture. With the provision of having a breathtaking view of Beirut’s cityscape. The structure is an ‘instant classic’ for Beirut, so enhancing it with expressive, iconic, and innovative ideas.
It’s planning reflects The concept of individualism, minimalism, and innovation. Using the optimal site’s potential with the client’s satisfaction and local building codes with the surrounding context of Beirut and the Mediterranean, As a result, the concept of ‘MAXIMIZE’ is used. The location of the site in the hills of Beirut. The site has approximately 20m height difference, with site slopes going downwards from north-east to south-west. The area measures around 30 by 40meters. The spatial planning of the tower gives an idea for handling such a huge height difference on site. The main entrance to the site is from the lower part which is an existing unpaved road. Besides going with the concept of continuously stacked floor plates and typical floor plans The Cube embarks with the innovative idea of rotating floor plates.
This enormous structure gives a sculptural appearance of stacked boxes rotated by 90o on each level, which creates a stepping effect. Concrete girders puncturing its exterior facade gives a mesmerizing appearance which ultimately determines the interior arrangements. Parking garage for around 42 cars is provided underground in 3 layers and partly into the adjacent hills. Cantilever volume covered the recessed lobby that makes the entrance of The Cube on the ground floor much Welcoming.
‘The Cube’ in total is comprised of 21 apartment blocks, stacked within 14-floor plates, with varying floor areas ranging from 117-234sq.m. Each level consists of one or two apartments. The 90’ rotation and slight irregularities in exterior solid walls on the facade create outdoor space for each apartment, which creates an openness to the spatial planning of each apartment. Each unit of the apartment is basically composed of two open webbed girder walls and two glass facade walls which give a panoramic view of the city. Creating a stepping effect on the facade, behaves as individual villas, giving feels of fluid spaces and spacious outdoor terrace gardens and children’s play for each apartment.
INTERNAL PLANNING OF THE CUBE
The spatial planning of the apartment has no column constraints within the apartment. Which gives singularity and flexibility in individual plans for all 21apartments. For each apartment view optimization, each apartment has different spatial planning due to the rotation of exterior girder walls. The 12m wide full glass panoramic windows create wideness and openness in the spatial planning, with the enormous view of Beirut city. Moreover, Internal accessibility is through lifts and a staircase located at the core of the structure.
There are no constraints on the layout of the apartment, due to the location of lifts and staircase at the heart of the building. However, Floors are extended from core to facade with no column constraints in between. Both crossing girders and core serve to stabilize the tower. At ground level, the tower seems to be partially built into the hills, by handling the huge site slope with almost proficiency. The parking garage in the adjacent hillside roof provides common space for residents. Also, for the children’s play area on its rooftop. The nano-coating paint on the exterior facade provides protection and gives an extremely smooth and dirt-resistant finish.
STRUCTURE of The Cube – an innovative project by Orange Architects
The vertical concrete core is used for strengthening the building in the seismically active area. The concrete girders on the exterior facade with wall to wall window frames provide stability. The displacement of exterior walls of the stacked floor plates gives main structural stability on each successive level. The building structure is made of new generation reinforced concrete, called ‘self-consolidating concrete’ (SCC). (SCC-is highly flowable concrete that spreads into form without the need for mechanical vibration. As a result, It allows loads to transfer to only 4 joints- overlapping areas of rotated girders on every floor surface (approx 35X35cm intersection) with no additional structural slabs added to the facade.
- Firstly, the International property awards 2015-16 is of the award of The Cube.
- Secondly, CTBUH (Best tall building awards 2016- the Middle East and African region)
- Thirdly, The WAN award 2016 residential nominated this building.
- Lastly, THE CUBE also participated in Dream 2016, the most luxurious annual real estate exhibition held in Beirut.