USJ Project Campus de l’Innovation, de l’Economie et du Sport

  • Damas Street, Beirut-Lebanon


    Damas Street, Beirut-Lebanon
  • 6,000 sqm


    6,000 sqm
  • Completed 2005-2011


    Completed 2005-2011
  • Youssef Tohme and 109 architectes

    Main Architect:

    Youssef Tohme and 109 architectes
  • Type

  • Built area

    60,000 sqm
  • Client

    Université Saint-Joseph
  • Project

    Charles E. Maroun Consult
  • Consulting Structural Engineer

    Rodolphe Matar
  • Consulting Mechanical Engineer

    Ibrahim Mounayar
  • Consulting Electrical Engineer

    Georges Chamoun
  • General Concrete Contractorc

    Hakime Entreprise
  • Photography

    Joe Kesrouani

Representing a bold design with idiosyncratic Brutalist expression, integrating the city into the project while extending public space vertically, and rationally arranging services in the lower levels.

We asked ourselves what determines the relationship between people and built enclosures, and wondered whether different functions can be superimposed. Here we took risks – even with the material selected for the USJ project: in-situ concrete; a substance that is both ambivalent and yet enables everything. Our use of concrete is for the posing of questions – not as a medium to obtain a certain form or aesthetic. Deep recesses and rough edges incorporate the architecture of the immediate neighborhood into the design.

  • Mass Plan
    Mass Plan

Set in a quarter of the city where nothing of the old urban structure survives, the building achieves autonomy without appearing monolithic.

The complex organizational structure, in which uses are repeatedly superimposed to create tensions between them, follows a constructive logic that deviates entirely from conventional layouts. The individual volumes cannot be read, delivering the impression of a continuous public space. With design and construction calling for untreated in-situ concrete, it tests the limits of formwork and casting techniques.


  • Bauwelt - 2012

    Bauwelt - 2012

    Youssef Tohme interviewed by Bauwelt in 2012 on the USJ Project in Beirut.


  • Le Figaro - June 2016

    “Youssef Tohme – The Visionary Architect. He succeeded in winning the confidence of the Bordeaux authorities thanks to the magnificent design of the University of Saint Joseph in Beirut”. Read More
  • Libération - September 2014

    “Today, there is fertile ground for innovation. Amidst the post-war anarchy, we sought solutions with hasty reconstructions that were not appropriate. Now we must ask how this city really reflects us”. Read More
  • Architectural Record - February 2013

    “… the solid concrete walls are slit, pierced and broken up, thus putting customary readings to the test. Here, the concrete becomes a material of ambivalence, a building material for a cast landscape that refuses to give the viewer even the slightest hint of functional assignments.” Read More
  • Bauwelt - December 2012

    “The new buildings of the Saint Joseph University (USJ), which was founded in 1875 and currently has approximately 11,000 students, is clearly distinguished from the neighborhood by its architecture. Architect Youssef Tohme has taken his own path, one which is based on, and makes numerous references to, Beirut’s varied history.” Read More
  • Beaux Arts - July 2012

    “In Beirut, the architect Youssef Tohme has just completed his university; a concrete complex riddled with beautiful flaws. His broken lines soar into the horizon, signing the armistice with the battered buildings of the city.” Read More
  • D'architectures - March 2012

    “A young generation of architects is now at work on thematic claiming a cultural identity. Through a critical view on the relationship between architecture its representation in society, it has pushed the boundaries of practice and explored notions”. Read More
  • Build - February 2012

    “The next dilemma... The aim is not so much to simply turn the wheel faster, but out of a self-imposed commitment. A commitment that manifests itself in a form language, and takes into account technical possibilities with a sense of humanity and ecological value.” Read More
  • Arab A+A - June 2011

    “Everyone agrees that the Arabic fresh and up-to-date architectural cross-cultural ideas come from Beirut, where the architectural education is the finest in the Arab world, strongly affect by the French movements” Read More
  • World Environment - 2011

    “It all takes personal initiative. Key people with personal initiatives create super impacts that affect us for generations to come. Youssef Tohme is such a person.” Read More
  • Wallpaper - September 2010

    “Tohme’s buildings blur the line between structure and sculpture, indoors and outdoors. Oriented towards a horizon: the sea, the sky, the mountains, they leave a light footprint…” Read More
  • AMC - June / July 2009

    "The urban context is like a collage of juxtaposed buildings along a single track. It’s a context rather characteristic of the urbanization in Lebanon after the war, even within areas that had an irrefutable historical past and importance." Read More
  • AMC - June / July 2007

    “USJ’s Campus of Innovation, Economy and Sport is currently under construction in Beirut. It is located on an island by the side of a road where the traditional city structure is now all but absent.” Read More