Casino du Liban (c. 1960s) exemplifies Lebanon’s foray into mid-century modernism at a time widely considered to be the “golden age” of Lebanese innovation.
Architecture was no different, the Lebanese architects, led by Joseph Philippe Karam brought west coast American mid-century modernism into the heart of Lebanese design. Lebanon, being the open and accepting society that it was quickly warmed up to the style. In the decades that followed there was an explosion of modernism, later coupled with brutalism, epitomizing the Lebanese spirit of building and re-building.
The urbanization was government sponsored in many cases, under Fuad Chehab and later President Sarkis’s ambitious plans to turn Lebanon into a regional powerhouse. The International Fair in Tripoli, designed by non-other than legendary modernist design Oscar Niemeyer is a living testament to that period. Unfinished and neglected, it remains a marvel of international planning and design that combines nature, space with urban elements and cityscapes. The residents of Tripoli don’t even realize what treasure they have!