Summer 2004 Vol. II, Nos 3 and 4
 From the Editors
 To the Editors
 AUB News
 Campaign Update
 Behold Beirut Architecture’s
 New Frontier
 The Post-AUB Architectural Life
 An Exact Type
 Architecture and Graphic Design
 Students “JAM”
 Shaping the Landscape of Lebanon
 Blueprint in Action
 Commencement 2004
 Honorary Degrees 2004
 Young Lebanese Musicians Learn
 Lessons from the Master
 More than a Stamp of Approval: AUB
 Receives Accreditation
 Alumni Profile
 Alumni Activities
 AUB Reflections
 Class Notes
 In Memoriam
 Previous Issues

From the Editors of MainGate

AUB and Beirut Rising

One of the most striking features of Beirut today is the reconstruction of the city.  Renowned architects from around the world, as well as those of Lebanon, are participating in this unique citywide “renovation.”  From the center of town and the hip neighborhood of Gemmayzeh to the outlying high-rise buildings and shopping centers —now linked with a network of new roads—the city landscape has been rapidly changing.  This has ushered in a lively debate about the notions of public space and the quality of urban life. The leading question is how to preserve Beirut’s rich architectural heritage against the onslaught of new hotels, corporate buildings, houses of worship, and shopping malls designed to represent Beirut as a 21st-century city? While some traditionalists may abhor the new-age constructions, others view the transformation as the best thing that has happened to Beirut.  All, however, agree it is a dynamic time to be living in Beirut.

Architecture as a discipline is rather compelling.  The combination of precise design, understanding of engineering and construction, and careful consideration of the functionality and lifestyle it involves make it a most fascinating and demanding field of endeavor.   One need only look at the high-scale projects around the world, such as the projected rebuilding of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, or Frank Gehry’s controversial Guggenheim Bilboa Museum in Spain, or the recently completed Millennium Park in Chicago, to see how profoundly modern architecture and urban planning impact and redefine daily life.

Inspired by the high creativity and interest in the city’s architectural future as revealed by the students at their annual “JAM” design exhibition, we saw it fitting to focus in this issue on the various facets of AUB’s architectural program.  And for a change of pace, we decided to take MainGate beyond the campus to explore the changing architecture of Beirut.  Along the way, we met some of the alumni responsible for some of the striking structures—many restored and a good number new—that have been giving the city its new and exciting hybrid image. And then we thought: what is architecture without a carefully constructed and aesthetic landscape?  So, we felt it an ideal occasion to introduce you to the University’s Landscape Design and Eco-Management Program, where students are learning how to create beautiful organic and sustainable landscapes.  AUB’s designs for its future campus are in motion, as well, as you will read in our update report on the Campus Master Plan.

We cannot end this letter without noting that in June AUB received its educational accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, after five years of concentrated effort on the part of all constituencies of the AUB community.  Yes, there has been much rejoicing—and a renewed sense of pride in knowing that the stamp of approval is official. The rest of the world now knows what we have known all along—that the American University of Beirut is a superb, first-rate institution of higher learning. 

Congratulations AUB!

Ibrahim Khoury and Lynn Mahoney

Coeditors, MainGate

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Riad El Solh, Beirut 1107 2020
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American University of Beirut
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