Walking on air...

Tuesday 26 Nov 2013

Suspended platform posed for The Rock at Raouche to enable uninterrupted views

Every day, architects and designers approach WAN with ambitious proposals and unusual projects. The latest of these comes from Ayoub Sarouphim, a Principal at RTKL in Washington DC, and concerns his concept design for a viewing platform in Lebanon: Raouche Skywalk. The following is a description of the design written by Sarouphim.

The Site

The Rock at Raouche, also nicknamed the Pigeons’ Rock by locals, is located off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon. It is a natural rock formation made of two masses that emerge approximately 45m above sea level. These formations have become an iconic natural feature of Beirut’s landscape and their location near Rafic Hariri International Airport provides a unique vantage point for incoming flights.

The sunsets behind the rocks have become quite famous, attracting tourists and natives to this scenic spot. The Rock at Raouche has even become a hotspot for local daredevils with an underground diving competition from the top of the rocks. Currently, the limited amount of land around the Raouche Rocks is overgrown with wild plants and weeds. Visitors have to conquer dangerous terrain near the edge of the cliff to find the perfect spot to observe these scenic vistas.

Raouche Skywalk Concept

The Rocks at Raouche is one of the few public gathering places in Beirut where divisions that typically define the daily lives of the city’s inhabitants are left aside,allowing visitors from all walks of life to enjoy the peaceful environment. The overall design of the Raouche Skywalk is based on the circle, a symbol of unity.

The design includes a transparent walkway that spans over the Mediterranean and provides visitors with unprecedented views of this landmark. In addition to reviving one of Lebanon’s most famous landmarks, this concept will offer a unique stage for public and private events, such as official ceremonies, concerts and other cultural celebrations. It will also include an integrated visitors center and room for exclusive retail, dining and entertainment venues overlooking the beautiful Rock at Raouche.

Design Aspects

The arch, with its two points of support, provides minimal impact to the site and holds a suspended glass walkway that spans over the Mediterranean. The walkway is made of structurally-sound, custom glass panels that provides unique views of the water below, the cliffs and the Rock at Raouche. A ceremonial central bridge extends from the land to the suspended glass stage, and the glass skywalk is connected to the visitor’s center by a pedestrian bridge. They both rest on stilts to cause minimal impact to the ground below.

Ayoub Sarouphim graduated from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik with a DESA in Architecture and holds a Master’s of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

He is currently a Principal at RTKL in Washington DC and has been designing projects around the world for the past 10 years. Credits go to his father Philippe Sarouphim for inspiring him to submit this proposal.

Key Facts:

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