Zaha Hadid has completed a top-heavy concrete building for the Isaam Fares Institute, located at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

The 3,000-square-metre building, which serves as a hub for academics, researchers, and politicians studying public policy and international affairs, has been lifted half of the ground and cantilevered over a public courtyard and a series of elevated pathways.

The in-situ concrete exterior is patterned with four-sided geometric shapes, many of which function as windows.

A large skylight delivers daylight to the building’s interior, while a screened terrace offers a break-out space for staff and students on the roof.

A seven-metre change of level across the site creates entrances on three separate floors, with a long ramp leading to the second floor on the west side.

The upper levels contain seminar spaces, offices, and a large reading room; the lower levels an administrative program and meeting areas, while a sunken level hidden below the building houses a 100-seat auditorium. 

Image: Hufton + Crow

Image: Hufton + Crow

Image: Hufton + Crow

Image: Luke Hayes 

Courtesy Dezeen and Zaha Hadid Architects