The Issam Fares Institute (Photo courtesy of AUB/Eid Atallah)
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Eight years after the American University of Beirut decided upon a final design for the Issam Fares Institute, the building has finally opened its doors.The angular concrete building was designed by renowned architect and AUB alumnus Dame Zaha Hadid, who originally hails from Baghdad and is known for her award-winning and often unconventional designs.The Issam Fares Institute encompasses 3,000 square feet, six stories, and features a distinct 21-meter cantilever that extends from the spine of the building. Few would argue that the ponderous, deeply modern structure isn't at odds with nearby buildings, almost all of which were built to reflect the Ottoman era. For others, including architect Sandra Rishani who lectures at AUB, the building leaves something to be desired.For Khouri, however, the building's functionality trumped any design debate.
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