Through this project, UNESCO aims to develop a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the Rashid Karami International Fair (RKIF) in Tripoli, North Lebanon. The RKIF is considered one of the most iconic architectural achievements of the modern period in Lebanon designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1962, known for designing the principal government buildings in Brasilia and the Pampulha Complex, all of which are now on the World Heritage list.
Scheduled to be completed by December 2020, the RKIF_CMP Project is funded by the Getty Foundation through its “Keeping It Modern” initiative 2018. Its aim is to work with the Fair’s administration and other major stakeholders towards the preservation of the Niemeyer structures and landscape while exploring possible future use/s of the complex without jeopardizing the project’s overall integrity and high degree of authenticity.
UNESCO is collaborating with a team of local and international experts in order to develop the guiding principles and tools that will inform any future conservation of the RKIF complex and/or any future development plans.
A number of assessments; such as desk based study of the archival material, value based assessment and condition assessment of the physical fabric, in addition to some research and testing of original materials and techniques will be undertaken in the framework of this project. A general conservation management plan shall be developed to determine the significance of the place and its general condition. The results of these studies shall enable the development of the guiding principles and tools that will inform any future conservation of the place and/or development plan. It should encourage the development of Niemeyer’s ‘Rashid Karami International Fair’ without jeopardizing its integrity and authenticity.
The intent of the RKIF_CMP project is to collaborate with the main stakeholders to develop a Conservation Management Plan for the Rashid Karami International Fairground, focusing on the buildings and plaza designed by Oscar Niemeyer. The site’s other structures and site features will be addressed as part of the campus-like cultural landscape setting for the iconic building complex.
The Niemeyer-designed Tripoli buildings have experienced deterioration due to weather and exposure over the last fifty years. Repairs are now needed to ensure that the buildings continue to function in good condition. With this in view, the first step will be the preparation of a Conservation Management Plan so that both repairs and any future development can be carried out within the framework of international conservation policies adopted by UNESCO.
This conservation plan shall contribute to the proper restoration and development of the place since it shall address the current technical issues and identify possible adaptive reuse strategies for the future development of the fair’s complex. The new functions shall be compatible with the existing architectural expressions and cultural landscape and shall respect sensitive environmental conditions.
Areas of intervention
The project encourages national actors to take into account safeguarding the cultural significance of this place and linking it with the sustainable urban development goals of the City of Tripoli. The Conservation Management Plan is a planning document that shall provide guidance for better conservation and management of this modern cultural heritage site in the future development policies and strategies of the city and the site itself, thus contributing to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in urban contexts. In particular, the project shall contribute to SDG 11, mainly target 11.4: Strengthening efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural heritage.