Lebanese practice JPAG makes architectural movie on an abandoned building

Lebanese practice JPAG makes architectural movie on an abandoned building
Published: 21 May 2019 - 9:16 a.m.
By: Rima Alsammarae

A short architectural movie titled 'Coming Back to Life', created by Lebanese practice JPAG, centres on an abandoned building to tell a "modern day fairy tale".

Centred on the Burj El Murr (Tower of Bitterness), the film offers a cinematic narrative complete with emotional and dramatic scenes that aim to address what an architectural concept is. The architects also hope to raise awareness of forgotten places and revive the building's status.

Burj El Murr sets the stage for the film's interweaving scenes, which highlight the building's various spaces and showcase objects that reflect Lebanon's urbanity, including roadblocks painted with the national flag.

The film serves as an homage of sorts to the tower, which the architects refer to as an "undisputable legacy of war and a constant reminder of the tragedy endured by the people."

Located in Beirut's downtown area, the unfinished tower's construction was interrupted by the country's civil war that broke out in the 1970s. Although an office block, it was transformed into a hideout for snipers, as it provided more than two kilometres of a panoptic view.

Today, the abandoned building remains a landmark, said the architects, and a reminder of the recent past.

"In spite of it all, the day has finally come to bring back the burj from the dead," they write on the movie's website. "This soulless body will rise again to become the source of life itself, a beacon of hope and a lighthouse for this sinking city."

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