‘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. Using the optimal site’s potential with client’s satisfaction and local building codes with the surrounding context of Beirut and the Mediterranean. However, the concept of ‘MAXIMIZE’ is used in the building. The site in the hills of Beirut, has approximately 20m height difference, with site slopes going downwards from northeast to southwest. The area measures around 30 by 40 meters.
“The Cube indicates a clear alternative to the extruded box typology that defines the majority of residential high-rises around the world, instead comprising a stack of completely unique villas in the sky. The tower is particularly successful in its structural design, which features a system of elegantly framed girder walls that add visual flair and allow for completely unobstructed floor plans.”
This enormous structure gives a sculptural appearance of stacked boxes rotated by 90’ on each level, which creates a stepping effect. Concrete girders puncturing its exterior facade give a mesmerising appearance which ultimately determines the interior arrangements. A parking garage for around 42 cars is provided underground in 3 layers and partly into the adjacent hills. The entrance of ‘The Cube’ on the ground floor is much more welcoming. Also, a recessed lobby space covered by cantilever volume.
‘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. 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 the feel of fluid spaces and spacious outdoor terrace gardens and children’s play for each apartment.
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Concept of The Cube
The design concept is simple but extraordinarily effective: ‘MAXIMIZE’. It makes optimal use of the client’s wishes, the site potential, and the local building code. And the fantastic views of Beirut and the Mediterranean for the residents.
With its sculptural appearance of stacked boxes, The Cube adds a whole new dimension to the concept of a high-rise and the architecture of towers. No extrusion of a single floor plan, but a unique and iconic structure of individual villas. The rotation and displacement of the volumes on each level offer residents magnificent outdoor areas on the roof of the apartment below. As well as panoramic windows up to 12 metres wide. Each level consists of one or two apartments. The single apartments have the fabulous opportunity to enjoy Beirut from a 360-degree panorama.
Internal Planning of The Cube
The spatial planning of the apartment has no column contraints within the apartment and gives singularity and flexibility in individual plans for all 21 apartments. No contraints on the layout of the apartment. Due to the fixed core with lifts and a 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 stabilise the tower.
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The vertical concrete core has used for strengthening the building in seismically active areas. The displacement of exterior walls of the stacked floor plates gives main structural stability on each successive level. As a result, 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, and is placed by means of its own weight.) It allows loads to transfer to only 4 overlapping areas of rotated girders on every floor surface(approx 35X35 cm intersection) with no additional structural slabs added to the facade.
‘The Cube’ is awarded International property awards 2015-16 and CTBUH(Best tall building awards 2016- Middle east and African region). It was also nominated for the WAN award 2016 residential awards.
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