Bab Tebbaneh School for Working Children and Women

The Rene Mouawad Foundation ran a small school dedicated to teaching languages and mathematics to the working children of Bab Tebbaneh, Tripoli, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Lebanon. Located on the northern edge of the Abou Ali River, Bab Tebbaneh suffers from deteriorating living conditions and a damaged infrastructure. Recently, deaths were reported in the area as a result of water pollution. Most of the targeted children work in auto-repair shops in the neighborhood and attend the school after hours. During the day, the school provides vocational training programs for women in tailoring and hairdressing as well as language courses. The facility is located in the basement of a residential building and is in major disrepair.

The foundation is planning to build a new school of about 500 square meters to house six classrooms and a meeting room for the neighborhood. The only available site in Bab Tebbaneh is a parcel located in the middle of a dense residential block. The site suffers from physical and visual isolation but also from overexposure to the auto repair shops and to the backs of the surrounding buildings. The design introduces the element of the wind catcher to capture clean air from above the auto-repair shops and to attract attention from a distance.

The school is modular, made of six equal-size classrooms, arranged in a splaying formation around a common open courtyard. Two of the classrooms could be joined together to form the meeting room, separately accessible after hours. All classrooms are laterally lit. In addition to a wind catcher, each classroom contains a teacher’s space, and a small library. The courtyard also provides access to some of the teachers’ offices. This arrangement creates interplay between the interior layout of each classroom and the overall layout.


Client: Rene Moawad Foundation
Project Team: Hashim Sarkis, Mason White, Chris White