Winning Entry


Design Concept

Historically, balconies transformed and thickened the Modernist curtainwall, allowing interior lives to spill outside, and bringing life to the vertical urban landscape. The Open Museum appropriates the balcony to create 94 outdoor 'project rooms' of different scales and shapes, allowing new kinds of art to be commissioned, displayed and experienced. The balconies act independently of the perfectly proportioned flexible interior galleries, creating a new gradient of public spaces.

The combination of specificity (the balconies) with neutrality (the galleries) offers a new kind of flexibility, one that avoids the recent bloatedness of museums by registering the broad historical range of exhibition spaces - from the flexible galleries of the Centre George Pompidou, say, to the exquisite sequences of the Hermitage.

The Open Museum borrows from the Modernist vernacular of the city to transform the museum typology and create a new hybrid - public and private, iconic and generic, large and small - that offers new flexibility through the broad range of scales, types and experiences of rooms it enables.


  • Architect Statement

    Amale Andraos

    Amale Andraos

    Co-founder and Principal of WORKac  
    Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture
    Planning and Preservation (GSAPP)
    I am honored to have the opportunity to realize our design for the Beirut Museum of Art, an institution dedicated to the Lebanese artistic culture. As an architect, and as a Lebanese person, Beirut is a city that has always inspired me, filled my imagination and remains close to my heart. Through it, I have re-examined the legacy of the ‘Arab City’ as an intellectual, artistic and progressive project. I hope that our design demonstrates an alternate possibility for the future of cities, as it reveals the cultural possibilities of integrating art, architecture and landscape within a dense urban setting and as a means to re-imagine how we can live, learn and share together.
  • About WORKac


    Architecture Company
    Founded in 2003 by Amale Andraos and Dan Wood, WORKac is a 25-person architectural firm based in New York City that focuses on architectural projects which re-invent the relationship between urban and natural environments. WORKac has received numerous awards and most recently was named the #1 design firm in the US in Architect magazine’s 2017 Architect 50 and was the 2015 AIA NYS Firm of the Year. The firm has achieved international acclaim for projects such as the Edible Schoolyard at P.S. 216 in Brooklyn, the Kew Gardens Hills Library in Queens, the Stealth Building in New York and the Miami Collage Garage. Current projects include a masterplan for 60 villas on a waterfront site in Lebanon, a new student center for Rhode Island School of Design, a public library in Boulder, Colorado and a new commercial building for Mission Bay in San Francisco. Both partners bridge practice and academia: Andraos is professor and dean of Columbia GSAPP, and Wood has taught at numerous universities.
    Their publications include Architecture and Representation: The Arab City, 49 Cities, Above the Pavement the Farm!, and We’ll Get There When we Cross That Bridge.