London Architect’s Virtual Beirut at London Film Festival
London based architect, urban designer and writer Ayssar Arida, has designed and produced a radical vision for Beirut, as seen through the eyes of one of the characters of the film Terra Incognita.
French/Lebanese director Ghassan Salhab’s Terra Incognita traces the suspended lives of a group of 30-somethings in post-war Beirut, including one successful architect who, finally disillusioned with the reconstruction process, locks himself in his bedroom and gradually immerses himself in his own virtual Grand Projet, a ridiculous revision of the city with hints of Corbusier, Koolhaas and Superstudio.
Limited in time and budget, Arida developed highly effective modelling methods to re-create a whole city in two days. Extruding and rendering GIS maps in Bryce 3D or simply filming the PC screen running AutoCAD, the low-tech solutions combined with Salhab’s multi-layered editing and soundscape, result is a hypnotic rendition of a city in full mutation.
The film is Salhab’s second full feature set in Beirut, and is a unique visual and aural document of one of the most extraordinarily rich urban environments in the world.