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Stone Garden Photo Credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

“Natural Architecture — An Archeology of the Future,” Lina Ghotmeh

Thu, Oct 14/21 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Lina Ghotmeh, the 2021-22 Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair in Architectural Design, will lead a public lecture, "Natural Architecture — An Archaeology of the Future," on Thursday, Oct. 14, 12-1 p.m. This online event will include a conversation with Dean Juan Du and is the first of two public Gehry Chair events.

Lina Ghotmeh Photo Credit: Silvia Possamai Pox

Lina Ghotmeh’s work develops from thorough historical research, emerging as exquisite interventions that enliven memories and senses. Her design methodology, an “archeology of the future,” is a true philosophy towards the built landscape. Drawn from the traces of their place, architectures arise from listening closely to their context. As they establish a new “déjà-là,” designs initiate a dialogue where time, memory, space, nature and humanity live as a symbiotic whole. Past meets future as histories are unearthed and memories excavated to raise questions enabling more sustainable and just architecture. The practice emphasizes the work of the hand and artisanship, allowing the built environment to embrace the traditions of its localities. As so, they uplift the subjective experience and the collective memory of those it recalls, while simultaneously crafting an ecological dialogue with earth.

Projects such as the Estonian National Museum find context in difficult pasts, listening to ancestors to project their voices towards better futures. Likewise, Stone Garden in Beirut anchors the city’s past into the present by calling forward its ruins, histories of conflicts and ongoing challenges; home to inhabitants and to the Mina Gallery, it emerges with an Earth-like envelope hand-chiseled by artisans. Other works include Réalimenter Masséna, a passive wooden tower dedicated to sustainable feeding responding to Paris’ call for innovative projects; Les Grands Verres, Palais de Tokyo’s Parisian restaurant conceived with reused, bio-sourced materials; and the new Hermès Manufacture, a handmade brick-constructed, low-carbon, passive building emerging soon in the heart of Normandy.

In the epoch of the Anthropocene, the urgency of building better futures becomes louder. From circular economies to energetic autonomies, the mission of architecture is to achieve a future of symbiosis where everything is a resource: nothing and no one is forgotten while living in a memorable and sustainable world that includes everybody.

Read the full 2021-22 Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair in Architectural Design announcement.

Top Image Credit: Stone Garden © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Portrait Image Credit: Lina Ghotmeh © Silvia Possamai Pox


About Lina Ghotmeh

Lina Ghotmeh is an architect who leads her practice, Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture, in Paris. Born in Beirut in 1980, she graduated with distinction from the American University of Beirut in 2003. In 2006, she received the first prize for the Estonian National Museum competition, leading her to establish her first partnership practice to realize this exceptional project in the heart of Estonia’s cultural capital. Her current practice is research-driven and gathers a team of 25 professionals of various disciplines. Echoing Ghotmeh's lived experience of Beirut — a palimpsest of unrest — the office’s work is orchestrated as an “archeology of the future,” where every project develops from thorough historical and material research, learning from a vernacular past to build a new “déjà-là.” 

Architectures emerge from a close understanding of their environment, resulting in a symbiotic and ecological dialogue with Earth. Lina Ghotmeh’s works include Réalimenter Masséna, a wooden tower dedicated to sustainable feeding which responds to Paris’ call for innovative projects, and Beirut's Stone Garden, where craft is at the heart of the building’s design. Among other projects, her studio is currently designing and leading the construction of the new Hermès Manufacture, a passive building in Normandy, and the urban rehabilitation of the Maine Montparnasse grounds in Paris.

She has lectured internationally and has taught at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture. She now holds teaching positions at Yale School of Architecture and University of Toronto. She is co-president of the RST ARCHES Scientific Network and the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2020 Tamayouz Woman of Outstanding Achievement Award; the French Fine Arts Academy Cardin Award 2019; the French Academy Dejean Prize 2016; the Grand Prix Afex 2016; and the French Ministry AJAP Prize 2008. Her work is currently exhibited at the 17th Architecture Biennale in Venice and has been widely published by the likes of Phaidon, RIBA, Domus and Architectural Record.


About the Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair in Architectural Design

Named in honour of Frank O. Gehry, this endowed chair brings a highly recognized international architect to the Daniels Faculty to deliver a public lecture and enrich the student learning experience each year. Heather Reisman, founder of Indigo Books and Music, and 45 other donors contributed $1 million — which was matched by U of T — to establish the chair in November 2000. It's named for the Toronto-born designer of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Experience Music Project in Seattle and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.