Celebrating Niemeyer’s Tripoli World Fair

On the occasion of the inscription of the Rachid Karameh International Fair of Tripoli on the Unesco’s World Heritage list, a symposium was organized by the Department of Architecture
and Interior Design at the Lebanese American University on the 9th of March 2023. The purpose of the symposium was to honor Oscar Niemeyer’s achievements and highlight the significance of the Tripoli Fair as a major representative work of Niemeyer as well as a 20th-century modern architecture in the Arab Near East.
Three main speakers were invited; Maya Hmeidan, a cultural heritage consultant with over 10 years of experience in heritage site conservation and management, highlighted the changing perception of the project from the 1960s till today and briefed the students about the architectural project while highlighted the seriousness of the decaying situation that the structures have reached. Speaker Hmayden stressed on the importance of acting fast to salvage the fair while opening necessary dialogues for developing significant management strategies adequate for the conservation of the fair.
Dr. Wassim Naghi an architect restorer with 30 years of experience and a professor at the Lebanese University has researched and explored the avant-garde for their time structural, mechanical, and electrical systems applied in RKIF and presented a comprehensive demonstration of the issues facing the restauration approaches. Dr. Naghi stressed on the importance of finding innovative and delicate consolidation and restoration techniques within the frame of world heritage conservation principle, and sustainable adaptive reuse that will preserve the essence of Niemeyer’s seminal design.
Finally, Charles Kettaneh and Nicolas Fayad from East Architecture Studio and winners of the Aga Khan Award for the restoration of Niemeyer’s Guest House at the Tripoli’s fair, shared their experience of the renovation processes and pointed out their responsibility to establish a reputable precedent that values Oscar Niemeyer’s work and intervention in the history of the fair.

View the symposium recording.