Agricultural and Community Center
In 1994, the René Moawad Foundation (RMF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the economic and social development of rural areas in Lebanon, built an agricultural center in the town of Mejdlaya on an elevated plateau of olive groves in North Lebanon. The center serves the small farmers of surrounding towns by providing a produce storage cooler (with a capacity of 170,000 crates, or 10% of the North Lebanon volume) at a reduced cost. It also provides a sorter for fruit packaging, a dairy facility for the production of cheeses and ice cream, and technical support programs and educational services.
In order to expand the center and its educational services, the foundation raised funds from international agencies to build a vocational school. The school includes a culinary training center, a restaurant, and a product showroom. The funds are also used to expand the dairy center, and to provide sleeping facilities for workers and students, and a daycare center for the region. The charge was to build an addition of 4,000 square meters and to improve on the ability of the diverse components to operate separately and together.
The design provides a two-floor rectangular framework to house the existing agricultural center, its expansions (present and future), the school, the restaurant, the showroom and the daycare center. It benefits from the slope of the terrain in order to connect both levels to the ground. Internally, the different programs are separated from each other by a sequence of internal courtyards directly accessible from the road at two main points, one to the agricultural center facilities namely, the dairy center, the administration, and the auditorium, and the second to the showroom and culinary and agricultural schools. The second level houses the restaurant, the library, dorms, study rooms, and day care center. The second level looks over and across the plateau of olive trees. The building operates like an interlocking framework, both planimetrically and sectionally, which allows the different activities to co-exist, change, and interact.
Client: Tanmiya Program, Rene Moawad Foundation
Donors: Italian Government, Usaid, Spanish Agency For International Cooperation, And Promoccion Social De Cultura
Project Team: Hashim Sarkis, Evy Pappas (Project Coordinator), Brian Mulder, Pars Kibarer, David Hill, Jonathan Cicconi, Anuraj Shah
Structural Engineer: Mohamed Chahine
Mechanical Engineer: Emilio Khoury
Electrical Engineer: Naji Zerbeh
Contractor: Jouad Moawad