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Appreciation towards Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture for providing the following description:
After the assassination of the ex-‐Prime Minister, Rafic Hariri, on February 14, 2005, VDLA was commissioned a memorial space dedicated to his memory. Rafic Hariri will be remembered not only as a central figure in the country’s complex political scene, but also as the man who rebuilt Beirut’s war-‐torn historic commercial centre though the launching of the most ambitious construction program in the history of the country.
Our intent, in the creation of this project, was not only to pay tribute to the vision and achievements of Hariri and perpetuate his memory, but also to create a public space which encourages intermingling in an open, welcoming environment, while providing a much-‐ needed breathing space within the city’s dense urban fabric.
Located on a hillside below the Grand Serail, Lebanon’s Government Palace, the Hariri Memorial Garden occupies a sloped triangular site. Elongated planes of dark grey granite and water mirrors, laid within a grass lawn, step down towards the city. A row of trees marks the edge between the steps and the Serail’s façade.
The limited palette of elements and materials are charged with symbolic significance. The steps symbolize the gradual rebuilding of Beirut and an open invitation to the city*. The granite planes represent sobriety and perseverance, and the flowing water mirrors embody continuity. The surrounding grass lawn provides a visual contrast and a tactile solicitation to enter*. Framing the length of the site, the jacaranda trees offer a welcoming shade and evoke, with their seasonal scattering of mauve blossoms, life’s constant renewal.