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Specimen_Zero: From the Experimental to the Educational


At Beirut’s Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA), the 2009/2010 third-year architecture graduate studio was set the challenge of experimentally generating new spatial and architectonic models through scrutinising physical, climatic, dynamic and other contextual conditions. The process-based methodology prioritised these analyses in generating outputs.

Four prompting themes were set by myself together with teaching colleague Samer Eid: ‘Static-X’, ‘Para-site’, ‘Trash-Hill-Toy’ and ‘Iteration’. Ideas around these subjects were developed to explore different modalities of cyberspace, cyberform, polymorphic forms, hypersurface, ornament as structure and structure as ornament. The message to the 43 participating students was clear: ‘Show us what you can do’.
The students started by exploring the meaning of ‘experience’ in architecture, and the resulting projects transpired to be as intellectually rigorous in their developmental process as they are idiosyncratic in their manifestations. A selection of the studio’s outputs were compiled in the book ’Specimen_Zero’, published by ALBA in late 2010. Benefitting from the full support of ALBA’s Dean,  Andre Bekhazi, and academically guided by the architecture school’s administrator,  Nicolas Haddad, the book is foreworded by Andre Bekhazi himself as well as by the Director of the Architecture school  Pierre Nehma and architect and educator Henri Eid.
Specimen_Zero is envisaged to be the first in a series of editions, and we look forward to working on the production of Specimen_One later in 2011.
The students involved were: Arine Ossepian, Carine Khoury, Carole Dib, Caroline Farjallah, Charles Hajj, Diana Dalati, Diana Mehrez, Diane Mehanna, Elias Anka, Farah Hosri, Frederick Ajjoub, Ghida Hamiyeh, Gilles Khairallah, Hanady Medlej, Jad Bou Raad, Jana Bsaibes, Joanna Halal, Kim Akiki, Leia Ghorra, Lila Kenderjian, Marie-Joe Tabet, Michel Feghali, Michael Sleiman, Mounia Akl, My Queen Maksoudian, Nadim El-Chammas, Pascale Khoury, Rabih Anka, Rachel Abou Abdallah, Rana Abi Ghanem, Riwa Alaiwan, Sabine Saba, Samar Mitri, Saria Abi Chaker, Sebastian Youwakim, Stephanie Azar, Stephie Moukarzel, Tara El-Sakhi, Tatiana Stephan, Wael Salem, Walid Matar, Yara Feghali and Ziad Ayach.
Eid, Samer and Hourany, Joseph (2010) Specimen_Zero. Beirut: ALBA. ISBN 9789953019215
Specimen_Zero is available for sale from ALBA and


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  1. Dr.H

    A titre d’info, spécimen zero est répertorié dans le supplément « Les Livres » du bulletin d’informations architecturales de la cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine. Ce supplément bisannuel répertorie les parutions des six derniers mois dans les domaines de l’architecture, de l’urbanisme et du paysage.