Situated in the central business district of Beirut, this public plaza is adjacent to the oldest archeological site in the city. The site, which includes findings that are over 6,000 years old, is the location of the ancient city of Berytus, the Iron Age origins of the modern day metropolis. This spot was initially chosen due to the defensible promontory, the safe harbor, and access to potable water. Though significantly reduced in size, this rock still houses visible ruins, including portions of a medieval castle and an Ottoman barrack. Machado and Silvetti Associates was tasked with creating a master plan for the general area, as well as the specific design of the plaza and preservation walls.
The solution includes objectifying the promontory in order to celebrate it as the origins of the city. This strategy is achieved through a number of interventions; creating water features on either side of the rock to evoke both the ancient harbor as well as the medieval moat; the strategic removal of dirt to reveal critical elements of the ruins such as the Ottoman barrack floor; the creation of a "secret garden" in the area where the promontory had been removed over the ages, thus serving as a visual continuation of what once was; and, finally, specially designed retaining walls that are temporary in nature but heavy in appearance that allow visitors vistas of both the city and the archeological park from on high.