WIT Press

Towards an evolutionary design in Lebanese vernacular dwellings


Free (open access)


Volume 9 (2014), Issue 4



Page Range

307 - 313

Paper DOI



WIT Press




Lebanese vernacular architecture may represent the ‘un-selfconscious’ process, a term nailed by Christopher Alexander. In what follows, I present an understanding of some of the properties of Lebanese vernacular dwellings and demonstrate how their attributes must be selectively transferred to an evolutionary design through our biology of consciousness to create a residential high-rise, Beirut Sustainable Residential Prototype (BSRP), that responds to economical, cultural and social needs in Beirut. Tradition and technology cross-pollinated each other to provide a residential prototype thought of as an extension of nature, thus, as a genetic cultural expression as discussed in evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkin’s book; furthermore, this paper will state the methods of intimate integration of renewable energy resources into the fabric of the structures that formulate today’s buildings. The research project that will be described in this paper started in 2009 onwards during the master thesis program of Sustainable Architecture – Smart Building and Urban Innovation – at IED (Istituto Europeo di Design) in Torino, Italy, distilling passive strategies learned from Lebanese vernacular architecture and reinterpreting them to provide the future with solutions that interweave naturally the urban fabric with its environment; furthermore, the project intends to promote bioethics and an urgent awareness in the Lebanese construction industry to view buildings as organisms that enhance ecological health and enriches the culture and history of a nation.


Evolutionary design, Lebanese vernacular architecture, sustainable residential prototype