In Beirut, a BAU exhibition revives damaged architecture for Lebanese children
At the heart of a historic area damaged by the Beirut blasts, the “Beirut Miniature Model Art Exhibition” of the Beirut Arab University has revived the Lebanese capital by reimagining its colors and memories over the course of 3 days, at the Saint Nicolas stairs in Gemmayze. It allowed children to enhance awareness to their cultural heritage and develop their emotional attachment to the territory of Beirut, by exposing them to miniature Beirut buildings developed by BAU students, and through the construction of cognitive maps and the use of spatial maps designed in a game environment.
The exhibition is an outcome of the initiative led by the BAU faculty of Architecture-Design & Built Environment to develop children’s emotional attachment to the city of Beirut following the blasts, and is supported by UNODC, UNESCO and UNFPA, as part of UNODC’s Education4Justice programme and UNESCO’s Li Beirut initiative.
Partners, NGOs, students, teachers and parents gathered in Gemmayze to discover the colorful displays which restore Beirut to its former beauty. A Ribbon Cutting celebration was also held in presence of the BAU president Dr. Amr Galal El-Adawi and representatives from UNODC and UNESCO.
During the exhibition, more than 70 children from the affected area explored the models and interacted with a creative game board with 3D physical models for specific neighborhoods and historic damaged buildings in Beirut, that was designed to stimulate the spatial thinking of children as a coping strategy after the traumatic event. Children also colored an illustration that depicts the Beirut blasts, solidarity and resilience to convey positive and empowering messages.
As part of the project, 45 children had also been invited to a workshop at the BAU lab and Karantina garden in Beirut, in collaboration with NGO “Himaya Daeem Aataa”, and were engaged in different activities. Each child created his/her own neighborhood using the materials of the game board including folded papers and landscape elements. The children also explored the large-scale model of selected heritage buildings in Beirut.
Earlier in April, 225 teachers of art and sciences had attended an online webinar and were trained on how to use the designed maps and models with students to improve the pedagogical practice, by integrating spatial thinking in their classes.