K Galleria

PrizeSilver in Architectural Design / Commercial Architecture
Firm LocationKaslik, Lebanon
CompanyMz Architects
ClientK.S.T.C. SAL

The architecture and vision of K Galleria are inspired by the infamous ancient khan, the equivalent of the public marketplace in the Middle East during the Ottoman era. Linked to the growth of land trade between the Orient and the West, khans formed a major phenomenon in the history of this part of the world, from an economic, social and cultural point of view. In Lebanon, a number of khans survive up until today such as Khan El Franj, built in the 17th century. As both client and architect wanted to avoid creating yet another clone of the traditional shopping mall, capturing the vernacular and social essence of traditional khans was a primary concern. It was essential to transcend the mere commercial and retail functions, and rather create a space for recreation and socialization, acting as a funnel to collect social crowds from the surrounding neighborhoods. Architectural elements recalling ancient khans serve as the basis for the design vocabulary of K Galleria. Volumetrically, the building presents itself as a solid monolithic cubic element evoking the typical square layout of khans, with a shifted parallelepiped that breaks up the bulky look of the volume and generates the geometry of the main atrium. As a reference to the loopholes on the outer walls of Khan El Franj, the K Galleria elevations are partially traversed with vertical openings, creating an inviting and attractive building facade with strong visual relations with its contiguous exterior spaces, and allowing natural light and ventilation to enter the building, thus saving on energy. This contemporary interpretation of the vernacular is complemented with the sober choice of natural local white stone treated in a contemporary aspect, as the main building material.