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Research Paper on Nabil Gholam: Biography and Structures

7 pages
1828 words
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Date of Birth: 1962

Profession: Architect, Urban Planner, and course instructor or lecturer in various institutions located in Manhattan and Barcelona

Education: Colombia University in New York City, Ecole des Beaux Arts located in Paris

Notable Designs: Platinum Tower (The tallest structure in Beirut), Wadi Abu Jamil, and the Engineering Complex at the American University situated in Beirut, Lebanon among others

Books: Nabil Gholam Architects and Eastwest among others


Nabil Gholam is an achieved architect, urban planner, and lecturer whose ingenious touch is visible in various notable buildings and structures are across the globe, particularly in the Middle East, parts of the greater Asian sub-continent, and Europe. He studied architecture in various renowned and prestigious colleges that include but not limited to ex-Ecole des Beaux Arts located in Paris and UP-Paris Villem. Nabil lived and studied in Paris, France during his study years. He was a remarkable student who had great creativity and matchless imagination. Afterwards, he moved to New York City to complete his studies at Columbia University. At the Columbia University, he majored in Urban Planning.

Immediately after completing his studies, he moved briefly in cities like Manhattan, Southern China, and then Barcelona where he secured jobs at various institutions first starting as a tutorial fellow then becoming course instructor mainly in his specialties, Architecture and Urban Planning. The institutions he taught at include Yunnan Institute of Technology and the Kinney Fellowship. Professionally, Nabil first practiced architecture at the Taller de Arquitectura where he was an associate. His great performance and insight, he rose quickly through the ranks and was in charge of international projects.

Nabil later set up his personal office in Beirut in the year 1994 to further his architectural practice. The unprecedented growth and the boom in the market ensured that his practice expanded to include global operations. To this end, he established an office in Barcelona, Spain in the year 2006 to oversee international operations particularly in Europe and Continental Asia. Later, the European office was relocated to Seville, Spain in 2010. Notably, the architect mostly lived a nomadic life due to the unrest caused by the civil war in his home country of Lebanon. The civil war broke out in 1975. The most notable places he lived or visited due to his work include Chicago, New York, Paris, Yunnan, Istanbul, Barcelona, and Seville. The travels and movement apparently made him into a global icon in the field of architecture.

In the contemporary setting, Nabil Gholam Architects is one of the most revered and respected brands in the field. It consists of multidisciplinary team of designers, architects, consultants, and planners with an impressive portfolio that encompasses extensive and vast projects. The firm has won great accolades and international awards in various competitions. The firms marked twenty (20) years of existence by publishing its monograph in 2014. It is worth noting that the architect and his firm advocate for eco-friendly designs across the globe in an attempt to reduce detrimental occurrences such as global warming and nay form of environmental degradation.

As mentioned earlier, the firm has great global designs that include The Engineering Complex located in the American University, Beirut. The mentioned complex won the country its first international designs award, which was great milestone by all measurable standards. In addition, the American university Engineering Complex received LEED certification recently (2015). Owing to the splendid performance and the great resilience in the middle of disruptions and war, the firm currently hosts close to 80 professionals that form an extensive network consisting of planners, architects, designers, and consultants.

Structures/ Buildings Associated with Nabil Gholam and Nabil Gholam Architects

As demonstrated, the architect and his firm are currently a leading force in the fields of architecture, design, urban planning, and consultancy. The fame and the fortune are attributable directly to the iconic and unique designs that are the marks of the firm. Example of the firms ingenuity is the Platinum, which is the tallest building in Beirut, the refurbishment of the Wadi Abu Jamil residential establishments, and the famous engineering complex of the American University located in Beirut. The mentioned are just a few buildings and structures by the architect and his firm.

The Platinum Tower, Beirut

The platinum Tower is an exquisite and iconic landmark structure located in Beirut Central District, Lebanon. The building has thirty four-34 residential stories, mostly luxurious apartments for the global affluent. Arabian Construction Company undertook the construction of the tower. The architectural or the design part is the work of two companies namely the Nabil Gholam Architecture & Planning and the famous Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitecura.


A close view of the luxurious the Platinum Tower in Beirut

As evident from the photograph, the structure consists of two conjoined single buildings that overlook both the central business district of the city and the sea. The single building are of varying heights, as the shorter or the lower one overlooks the sea, probably to permit the cool breeze form the sea, while the taller one overlooks the city mainly to avoid obstructing the other structure. The building overshot its completion date by a whole year due to technical glitches (Haddad, 2008). It was supposed to undergo completion in 2007 but instead the completion happened in 2008. A pedestrian walk connects the two towers. It is worth noting that the pedestrian path is still under construction though the initial design provided for it. The building stands at an impressive 153 meters, and was the tallest building at the time of construction up until 2014 when other structures such as the Sky Gate overtook it (Krijnen, 2010). It therefore means that at the time of construction the building was one of its kind since it held tallest building position not only in Beirut but also in the entire Lebanon for close to six years. The first five levels of the building are car parks.


A picture showing the two towers: the taller and the lower one

As mentioned earlier, the buildings location is close to the sea with the lower tower facing the sea while the taller one facing the CBD. The height of the building makes it a landmark in the citys skyline. The location is timely, since it is ideal for hotels and luxury villas that attract the global elites. It therefore means that the prices raged for occupancy are quite high due to the ideal location (Krijnen, 2010). Various vocational establishments surround the place and other supporting ventures such memorials that attract tourists to the region. Form the first picture, it is apparent that the building has edge or side illumination at night, the top, and at the horizontal fittings.


The above picture shows part of the interior and the view permitted by one of the rooms in the tower.


Part of the interior design

Saifi Village

The Saifi Village refers to a luxurious, yet somewhat modest residential establishment located in southeastern part of an estate called as Centre Ville, Beirut, Lebanon. It is worth noting that Centre Ville is an upscale residential estate that contains the elite and the affluent of the Lebanese as well as the global community.


Part of the Saifi Village

Nabil Gholam Architects and Planning designed the village after its complete destruction after the Lebanese Civil War. What is present today is a completely different design that succeeded the post war era. A company called Solidere undertook the entire construction work of the neighborhood. A critical look at the building reveals that the design resembles the conventional French buildings especially the ones that existed during the colonial era. It therefore means that the designer, Nabil Gholam and his groups of associates, borrowed heavily from French designs. It is not surprising since the lead architect schooled at the ex- Ecole des Beaux Arts located in Paris. Notably, the neighborhoods entire design was the work of Francois Spoerry, and the work by Nabil Gholam and his groups of associates forms just a part of the entire design, meaning that the architect designed some structures that form part of the entire concept.


View of part of the Saifi Village at night


Aerial View of the Neighborhood

The village combines traditional designs with the modern urban residential set up, which essentially makes it quite a successful establishment. The conception of the design partly stemmed from French and Lebanese setups that combine various clusters that include simplicity in style, number of buildings, the color, and blending style (Haddad, 2008). Additionally, the establishment has Mediterranean pitched roofs, harmony of pastel colors, and well-placed decorative ornaments. The above combinations blend so well to project the intended architectural language. The choice of location makes it quite an impressionable area to live in since it the ambience is exceedingly quiet and a great landscape design. The design features a village square located at the center that forms the meeting point for the visitors as well as the visitors. Moreover, the neighborhood has trendy galleries courtyards, restaurants, cafes, and retail shops. To add to the ambience, it has seasonal flowers and shrubs, fountains, brick fountains, and childrens playing ground. Essentially, the design has the setup that promotes communal character. In a contemporary architectural setup, the design depicts village and pedestrian character.

Irani Oxy Engineering Complex of the American University in Beirut Lebanon

The IOEC building embodies the ingenuity and the necessity of the architectural work due to its intelligent technical spine and the notable circulation. The building has a North-South atrium that permits splendid view of the seas and the surrounding areas. The structure covers approximately 1500 square meters has great flexibility that shift positions and is therefore easily adaptable to groups modules (Krijnen, 2010). The various modules are independent of each other with its ventilations, access, and the natural light. The design therefore makes it easy for technical upgrade and combination of activities. The intelligent, active skin permits access to and natural light into each of the laboratories. Additionally, the building has a double skin that allows for thermal protection through permission of lower levers of emissivity. To this end, it has a double glass that has an aluminum panels that have sun screening capabilities that work in conjunction with the sun canopies made of stainless steel.


Side view of the IOEC Building

As evident from the images, the stainless steel or the panel designs forma foliage pattern that is reminiscent of the patterns made by the plants. The panels allow varying levels of perforation that depends on the views and the angle of orientation in relation to the degree of light requirement into the laboratory. As mentioned earlier, the building has a multilayer design, which is rare and modern, which gives a great image to the entire campus due to its unique nature. The technology permits greater vision and view at night through the metallic leaves that form the shimmering panels at the lower areas of the campus (.Harrington & Wingert-Playdon, 2016) The design and the splendid lighting system naturally permit an uninterrupted interaction with the City of Beirut and the Campus,...

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