Two months after a “historically powerful” blast leveled buildings, killed 70, and injured over 3,000 people in Beirut, the Lebanese capital city still isn’t back to normal. In response, design forum and fair Design Miami/ has launched Architects for Beirut, a fundraising initiative to help restore the historic city’s damaged buildings and public spaces.
Now through November 17, art and design aficionados can shop for original drawings, signed prints, architectural models, and books (here) from Sir Norman Foster, Toyo Ito, James Wines, SO – IL, Sir David Adjaye, Toshiko Mori, Michael Van Valkenburgh, and many more big names. In total, nearly 100 architects or their offices contributed work for the initiative, and the pieces for sale range from “pretty affordable” (signed books and prints under $500) all the way up to one-of-a-kind hand drawings retailing for thousands. All of the proceeds will go towards on-the-ground rebuilding efforts.
“The massive explosion at Beirut’s port—the fourth largest explosion ever recorded—killed hundreds, injured thousands, and left hundreds of thousands more homeless,” said Amale Andraos in a press release. Andraos, co-founder of WORKac and currently dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, is a Beirut native who was moved to act after the explosion, partnering with Makram el Kadi and Ziad Jamaleddine, two other Beirut-born architects.
“Large swathes of the city are destroyed, including five major hospitals. Tragedy layers on top of tragedy, as Beirut was already deeply stressed by a dire economic situation and a raging pandemic,” added Andraos. “The people of Lebanon are still reeling, checking on friends and neighbors and clearing glass and debris while planning a way forward from this despondent situation.”
Other than Andraos and her two native collaborators, Barry Bergdoll, Aric Chen, Nader Tehrani, Terence Riley, Sean Anderson, and others are helping with outreach and organization for Architects for Beirut.
As Design Miami/ notes, their first fundraiser, Design for GlobalGiving, raised over $30,000 this summer for nonprofit GlobalGiving’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, and is hoping to replicate their success here. If this summer has shown us anything, it’s that demand for collectible art and design is still booming; the Design Yard Sale held by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design for racial justice was met with similar enthusiasm.