In 2008, Youssef Tohme opened his own office, YTAA in Beirut with two partners, Roger Akoury and Anastasia Elrouss. Together with a team of young Lebanese and international architects, they have sought since that date to translate theoretical and technical research in the ongoing projects that have in common an interest in an innovative urban and structural agenda. Youssef Tohme states ‘The main themes explored by the studio in our project designs are the horizon, the atmosphere, collages, voids, envelopes, contrasts, dualism, uprooting, and landscapes.
People are moved by architecture when it somehow embodies the world we are living in. This is a reason that we make all possible attempts to understand its social, economic, political and philosophical aspects.
We are interested in numerous theoretical approaches to society, territory or writing. We question the relationship with the world around us, and we try to give new interpretations that are better adapted to the idea that this is our own world. ’
Anastasia Elrouss is a Co-founder and a partner architect at YTAA. She works on the evolution of the architectural concepts with Youssef Tohme and pushes for their conceptual development with the team.
Where much of architecture consists of surfaces – plans and sections, the work of YTAA can readily be described as Anastasia Elrouss explains, more as one of layering, or of accumulated reactions to a given set of circumstances. She says, “We try to produce a multilayered spatial experience within our projects that can be appropriated by the users of that space.”
Together with a team of young Lebanese and international architects, they have sought since that date to translate theoretical and technical research in the ongoing projects that have in common an interest in an innovative urban and structural agenda. ‘We are interested in numerous theoretical approaches to society, territory or writing. We question the relationship with the world around us, and we try to give new interpretations that are better adapted to the idea that this is our own world.’
The continuity of the YTAA’s architectural thinking can be seen in several projects in Lebanon and abroad.
In Lebanon, the agency consciously evade architecture that is imagined as a single large space, and attempt rather to create a series of relationships between what is built, what is lived in and the immediate context such as T Villa (2009-2014), SC Villa (2010-2013), VR Villa (2013-2016), the BLF disaster recovery center (2013-2017), the residential tower in Ashrafieh A599 (2014-2017), the sea side resort HAT (2013-2016) and the new headquarters of PSLAB in Beirut (2015-2018).
On the international scale, cultural, residential and urban projects are ongoing such as MARe ‘Museum for Modern and Contemporary Romania Art’ in Bucharest (2013-2016), ALZORAH Marina Square residential complex in AJMAN, UAE (2014-2017), CAM school campus in Bucharest (2016-2018), and CAIR ‘Crédit Agricole Immobilier’ in Bordeaux (2015-2018).
In 2012, YTAA won a competition organized by the municipality of Bordeaux to develop an urban vision for an area of sixty hectares. In 2013, Youssef Tohme was in charge of the 2014 edition of the Biennale of Architecture, Planning and Design in Bordeaux, Agora 2014. Simultaneously, he published the book ‘Intensive Beyrouth’, an essay that mixes urban reflections on Lebanon with the projects’ experiences of the agency, which is engaged to reopen the debate on architecture in Lebanon.
– Brazza Multiuse Urban Development, Bordeaux-Bastide, France – 2012-2020
– CAM Campus, Bucharest, Roumania – 2016-2018
– BLF Bank Disaster Center, Ghazir, Lebanon – 2015-2018
– VR Villa, Ajaltoun, Lebanon – 2013-2016
– T Villa, Kornet Chehouane, Lebanon – 2009-2014
– SC Villa, Akoura, Lebanon – 2010-2013
– CAIR Residentiel Buildings, Crédit Agricole Immobilier – 2015-2018
– BASBINA Urban Project, Lebanon – 2016-2025
Work in progress:
– M Villa, Kornet Chehouane, Lebanon – 2009-2016
– FH Three Villas, Dahr Elsouwan, Lebanon – 2012-2015
– HAT Hotel and Beach Resort, Halat, Lebanon – 2012-2017
– MARe Museum for Modern and Contemporary Romanian Art, Bucharest, Romania – 2014-2016
– N Villa, Ain Ar, Lebanon – 2014-2016
– MNJP Villa, Faqra, Lebanon – 2014-2016
– ALZ Marina Square Serviced Residential Building, Al-Zorah, Ajman, United Arab Emirates – 2015-2018
– ADIM Mixed Use, Bordeaux – 2015-2018
– PN Suspended House, Gemayze, Lebanon – 2015-2017
– AMA Residential Building, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon – 2014-2017
– PS LAB headquarters, Beirut, Lebanon, 2015-2018
Project selected for Archmarathon: Villa T