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American University of Beirut

The project comprises the design and new construction of the New York City administrative and development office, and the office of the President, for the American University of Beirut (AUB). The 8,500 square foot office is located near the UN Headquarters on Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. The facility is designed to be occupied regularly by twenty staff members, but physically transforms to accommodate up to sixty AUB deans and trustees who meet quarterly for several days, as well as host large social functions.

Using materials, symbolic elements, and abstract images sourced from the Lebanon campus, the design evokes the spirit, character, and prestige of this important Middle Eastern institution. Materials such as Lebanese cedar, Jerusalem stone, and mottled decorative plaster are merged to create a series of spare, flowing spaces with elegant casework. Within a limited project budget, MBB employed a strategy that controlled the use of rich materials while creating meaningful design impact: a “ribbon” of Lebanese cedar wall paneling weaves together the public spaces, circulation spine, and the president’s office, and holds elements that the AUB story.