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Issam Fares Institute’s 5 year anniversary

The Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut opened on this day five years ago.

Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) was established as a neutral, dynamic, civil and open space where people representing all viewpoints in society can gather and discuss significant issues. The Institute is anchored in a long-standing commitment to mutual understanding and high-quality research; to harness and initiate research and debate on public policy and international relations.

The IFI’s design is defined by the many routes and connections within AUB, interweaving the pathways and views within the campus to create a forum for the exchange of ideas – a centre of interaction and dialogue – at the heart of the university.

Reducing the building’s footprint by ‘floating’ key research spaces above the entrance courtyard to preserve the existing landscape integral to AUB’s master-plan, the IFI creates a new public space for the campus. Existing Ficus and Cypress trees on the site (aged between 120 and 180 years old) are integral to the design. The building emerges from the geometries of intersecting routes as a series of interlocking spaces for research, engagement and discourse.

Photograph by Hufton+Crow