Following the several political upheavals that have inhabited contemporary Beirut, the transfiguration of the city is now being conducted by massive capital investments and real estate speculation. Yet, despite this renewed transformation, pockets of the city are left stagnant, neither at war nor in reconstruction. While waiting to see which private investor might take over these areas, some have taken a life of their own, appearing as the only remaining spaces where alternatives might still be possible. It is through these forgotten neighborhoods that opportunities for other proposals emerge, where the city as a found object can project its own and differentiated future. This essay presents the district of Bachoura as one of such found urban pieces. Located in a pivotal position between thriving neighborhoods, Bachoura is, at most, a large “terrain vague” within the city center. Because it is still largely neglected by the recent reconstruction, the neighborhood holds a chance to contribute to alternative discourses on the found character of the city and on the value of everyday practices. Building on the intricacies of found situations, improvised uses and local narratives, a series of five nomadic and transitional personal infrastructures explore how the meeting of the literary marvellous realism, the “terrain vague” and temporary architecture can provide opportunities for creative proposals to emerge. These machine-like rooms, while decidedly grounded in the social condition, grow to be invented places without definite locations and propose that despite the yoke of neo-liberalist urban development, pieces of “Bachourian-marvellous-realness” could still stroll the new landscape.
|Keywords:||Everyday, Terrain Vague, Public Space, Nomadic Architecture|
University of Quebec in Montreal, Montreal, Canada