Skygate, Beirut, Lebanon The seducing aspect of Beirut’s juxtaposing architecture, of past and present, traditional and modern creativity sets the milieu for the Skygate development. Located on a hilly promontory of Ashrafieh, Skygate provocatively completes what appears as an urban wall rising in this central area of Beirut. It forms a strong metaphor in the rebuilding of the once badly destroyed city. In this steadily evolving skyline of Beirut, dotted with cranes hurrying to rebuild a metropolis, rises the design for this gallant tower which capitalizes on the luxury of space, light and views. In a program requiring opulent residential units, the developer aims at offering a breakthrough in the Lebanese real estate market. Beyond the expected extravagance of noble materials the design capitalizes on detailing of skin, planters and playful manipulation of geometry. This logic is pursued throughout the project. A simple yet intriguingly sculptural geometry is achieved by the superposition of four cubical volumes. Flanked by two blind walls of the adjacent buildings, the volumes move left and right leaving a series of large urban windows - a porous tower. The overall massing reinterprets and reinvigorates the typical representation of the Beirut building. This design gesture was the architect´s clear answer to the role assigned to him: To put in the last closing brick in the existing urban wall. Introducing the project is a convivial piazza, which leads the way to a 10m high entrance lobby. Exceptional apartments stacked above are informed by distinctive indoor/ outdoor environments ranging from 300 to 1500 sqm. These ‘villas in the sky’ offer 4m high living spaces bathed with light and over look the Lebanese mountains and Mediterranean Sea. The building is made of a continuous floor to ceiling Low e glazing which exploit the shimmering effect of reflection and transparency whilst maximizing the views. The continuous glass edge is protected by a system of cantilevered balconies and planters with stone over hangs. The external stone skin is made of a series of horizontal layers that alternate in height and in turn address the needs and functions behind. The result is a systematically changing frame for luxury, structuring views and creating a rich and particular experience in each area of the apartments and on every floor. The seamlessly coexisting apartment types, including duplex penthouses capitalize on intricately thought out spaces. Due to its nature, large contiguous well lit spaces are offered almost equally to all functions. Sun exposure and protection coupled with cross ventilation enhance the natural qualities of Beirut living. Variably dimensioned balconies and terraces are carefully located to become uninterrupted extension of interior space; typical of the Mediterranean way of living, they become round the year outside living rooms. The continuous balconies and terraces are brought to life through systematic plantation and vegetation. They work in concert with the sculptural exterior cladding. Planted with big scale trees, the porous urban windows become framed gardens in the sky. The opulence of these gardens is present for the inhabitant and as a perched garden for the city as it integrates into the urban landscape.