Studio: Maroun Lahoud Architecte
Project: Saint-Elie Church
Location: Brih, Lebanon
Category: Religious buildings
Credit: Maroun Lahoud
St-Elie project is located in Mtaile Brih, 45km from Beirut, a region characterized by its terraced topography and vegetation abundance. It is also a region with a heavy historical heritage, which led to violent clashes during the civil war, resulting in the near-total destruction of houses, places of worship and the displacement of villagers.
The project arose with the will to gather by celebrating the elements of nature. It revolves around two squares opening to the panorama and entails St. Elie Church and a semi-sunken base.
Radiant with its white stone cladding, the church solemnly sets in the landscape, inspiring renewal. Its aspect embodies the characteristics of the Maronite Church: pure massing and flat roof. The interior is crafted and hierechized by indirect lighting schemes: zenithal above the altar, sacristy and confessional, and parietal along the lateral circulations.
The base, deriving its language from the region’s cultivated terraces, remodels the topography of the hillside to house the multipurpose hall and its annexes. Its dry stone walling, extracted from the site by local artisans and procured from the village’s demolished houses during the war, anchors the project in the ground.
Due to its location and the contrast of its materials, the project tends to create a new focal point in the Shouf’s Valley and writes a new page in the history of Mount Lebanon.