Balloon Landing Park

Based on the new plan for downtown Beirut, a large area along the waterfront was cleared and re-planned to become an extension of the abutting hotel district. In the planning phase, many of the parcels were rented out for temporary uses. Most of these uses were entertainment related (basketball courts, children’s museums and playgrounds, etc).

The client of this project requested the design of kiosks and a platform for an Aerophile 30, a tethered helium balloon that takes about 15 passengers to about 300 meters to look at the city from above and then descends in less than fifteen minutes. Instead of encumbering the ground with kiosks and disturbing the visual presence of the balloon, the project uses the natural slope of the site to tuck the kiosks under the landing platform while keeping it accessible from the lower end of the site.

Under the platform is a café/waiting area, video games, ticket booths, and service facilities. The physical clearing is maintained by exaggerating the emptiness of the ground. The balloon peels the ground off revealing a multiplicity of strata. In the city, a definitive ground level is no longer possible. Instead, multiple layers of grounds are revealed as when one approaches the balloon on the ground.


Client: Round Concepts, Etc
Design Team: Hashim Sarkis, Pars Kibarer (Project Coordinator), Brian Mulder, Joaquin Perez-Goicochea, Jonathan Cicconi
Structural Engineer: Mohamed Chahine
Electro-Mechanical Engineers: Aurora