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The vast abandoned Dergham Building boasts ornate iron balconies and rows of arched windows, though it could be the latest victim of historic home demolition in Beirut after a crew quietly began taking apart its floor tiles and other profitable items last week.Hundreds of historic structures across the country have been pulled down in recent decades, oftentimes to make way for what Lucien and architectural heritage activists call "towers" – modern, bland apartment blocks that they believe look out of place among Lebanon's older, classic buildings.Though the Beirut municipality released a decision Monday to temporarily halt demolition of the Dergham, originally green-lighted in April, the French Mandate-era apartment block highlights two differing views on rescuing the city's architectural heritage.Among them are last week's finds from the Dergham.Lucien's roughly 1,000-square-meter, traditional Lebanese-style mansion consists of thousands of accessories from now-demolished historic homes that he has visited since losing the beloved Hamra house in 2011 . Meanwhile, activists from the NGO Save Beirut Heritage are fighting to permanently halt the demolition of the Dergham.With the Dergham in a state of limbo, its dozens of iron bedframes, carved stone doorways and columns now sit in a storage room in the Kouba mansion's basement.
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