Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh cherishes the connection to the past and weaves it into her architectural creations for a sustainable future.
With a deliberate focus on invoking memory, time, and space from the traces of the past, she aims to bridge the chasm between disparate time frames -- the past and the future -- ultimately unifying the human experience with nature in the realm of architecture.
During her presentation at the Herald Design Forum on Tuesday, Ghotmeh expounded on her architectural concept of "Living in Symbiosis – an Archaeology of the Future."
“Can design really change our relationship to the world?” the Paris-based architect asked at the beginning of her presentation.
Subsequent questions followed, such as “How to refurbish after the war?” and “How much nature in architecture?”
The award-winning architect addressed these questions through introducing five of her architectural works, speaking about the motives and the intricate processes behind them, and also gave the audience a glimpse into the potential of design in the Anthropocene era.
Her creation, the Estonian National Museum in Tartu, embodies the "history of resistance" encapsulated within the painful history of the nation formally annexed by the Soviet Union. It has evolved into a space for enlightenment and learning, facilitating "constant making," according to the architect.
Likewise, the Stone Garden, an apartment block nestled in the center of Beirut, bears the mark of the city's war-torn past. It stands as a reminder of the city's history of conflicts woven into the present while striking a delicate balance with the surrounding natural environment, she said. Her design, with its meticulously hand-carved surface, won her the Dezeen 2021 Project of the Year award.
In France, Ghotmeh's Precise Acts resulted in the country's first passive, low carbon, energy-positive building. The building is used as workshops for French luxury brand Hermes. It is also called “the poetics of architecture” due to the building’s elements that blend well with the existing landscape, she explained.
Delving into sustainable practices, she contemplated the concept of a circular economy through Realimenter Massena, a community-centric building within a zero-waste organic setting.
Similarly, A Table, which she designed for the 22nd Serpentine Pavilion in London, invites people to a “moment of sitting together, eating food and thinking differently our relationship to the world," she said.