Architects and designers in Beirut have shared their first-hand accounts of the huge explosion that destroyed a large part of the city on Tuesday, with one describing the devastation as “beyond an apocalypse”.

“I thought it was a tsunami or a bomb, or even a nuclear blast,” said architect Lina Ghotmeh, who witnessed the massive explosion from a waterside cafe.

“No one can possibly imagine the scale of the disaster, it is beyond an apocalypse, the entire city is in rubbles,” said co-founder of design studio T Sakhi, Tessa Sakhi, who was at home when the explosion happened.

“PSLab Beirut HQ is gone, completely wiped,” added Rania Abboud, communications director of lighting designer PSLab.


建築師莉娜·格特梅(Lina Ghotmeh)說:“我以為這是海嘯或炸彈,甚至是核爆炸。”目睹了海濱咖啡館的大規模爆炸。

設計工作室T Sakhi的聯合創始人泰莎·薩基(Tessa Sakhi)表示:“沒有人能想像這場災難的規模,這場災難超出了預言,整個城市都在廢墟中。”

照明設計師PSLab的傳播總監Rania Abboud補充說:“ PSLab貝魯特總部已經不見了,被徹底抹去了。”

Large parts of Beirut including Lian Ghotmeh’s Stone Garden project were damaged in the explosion. Photo is by Lina Ghotmeh|爆炸中,貝魯特的大部分地區,包括Lina Ghotmeh Stone Garden項目遭到破壞。 照片由Lina Ghotmeh攝

The explosion at a warehouse where 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate was being stored on 4 August caused widespread destruction in the Lebanese capital.

It is estimated to have killed 149 people and injured more than 5,000. Local architect Jean-Marc Bonfils was among the dead.

A number of buildings in the city were also destroyed or badly damaged, among them Pierre Neema’s 1965 headquarters for power company Électricité du Liban and the Sursock Museum.


據估計已造成149人死亡,5,000多人受傷。 當地建築師讓·馬克·邦菲爾斯(Jean-Marc Bonfils)死了。

該市的許多建築物也被摧毀或嚴重破壞,其中包括Pierre Neema於1965年為電力公司Électricitédu Liban和Sursock博物館設立的總部。

“I honestly still don’t believe we are alive”|“老實說,我仍然不相信我們還活著”

“Since it happened by the seaside, the explosion was very powerful,” Ghotmeh told Dezeen. “You could feel that the water had actually taken on a lot of the charge of the explosion.”

Ghotmeh, who was shortlisted for a Dezeen Award in 2018 and had just completed her first project in Beirut, was sitting in a small cafe by the water across from the part of the port where the incident occurred when the warehouse exploded.

“What was really surprising were the red fumes coming out of the water,” she continued.

“It was surreal because you couldn’t understand if it was bombardment from a plane, a natural event, or something chemical because the fumes were a completely different colour. I thought it was a tsunami or a bomb, or even a nuclear blast.”

戈特梅告訴Dezeen:“爆炸發生在海邊,爆炸非常強大。” “您可能會覺得水實際上承擔了爆炸的重擔。”



“這是超現實的,因為您不知道它是從飛機上轟炸,自然事件還是某種化學物質,因為煙霧的顏色完全不同。我認為這是海嘯或炸彈,甚至是核爆炸。 ”

Numerous houses in the city were ruined by the explosion. Photo is by Tessa Sakhi|爆炸摧毀了這座城市的許多房屋。 圖片是泰莎·薩基(Tessa Sakhi)

Ghotmeh stayed on the scene with her son and her family in the aftermath of the explosion.

“You just stay in place because you don’t know what’s going to happen – having left the war, in these events, one bomb happens and then you expect another, so you stay in place and wait to understand what’s happening,” she explained.


她解釋說:“你只是呆在原地,因為你不知道會發生什麼–在這些事件中,離開戰爭後,一顆炸彈發生了,然後你又期待著另一枚炸彈,所以你留在原處,等待了解發生了什麼。” 。

“Then you discover the consequences,” she continued. “My sister’s home was completely shattered, my eight-year-old nephew was hit by shattered glass. My partner’s office completely collapsed – the false ceiling was ripped off and four-metres high glass panels were shattered.”

“I was there just 30 minutes before the explosion and I honestly still don’t believe we are alive.”

她接著說:“然後你發現後果。” “我姐姐的家完全被夷為平地,我八歲的侄子被玻璃打碎了。我伴侶的辦公室完全倒塌了–假天花板被扯開了,四米高的玻璃板被打碎了。”


“Every single person in the city and outskirts had a near-death experience”|“城市和郊區的每個人都有近乎死亡的經歷”

Beirut-based architect Sakhi, who was in her house four kilometres away from the explosion, thought that she was witnessing an earthquake.

“I thought it was a strong earthquake and since I live in a typical old Lebanese house, I was afraid it might collapse,” she told Dezeen.

“I grabbed both my dogs and the next thing I remember was a massive sound of an explosion,” she said. “My windows exploded, glass shattered everywhere, ceilings and walls were falling, objects exploded, and there was immense smoke.”

Sakhi tried to get to the only room in her house without windows, something she says her parents taught her and her sister during the Lebanese civil war, but the ceiling had fallen.



她說:“我抓住了我的狗,第二件事我記得是巨大的爆炸聲。” “我的窗戶爆炸了,到處都是玻璃碎片,天花板和牆壁都掉下來了,物體爆炸了,還有巨大的煙霧。”


It is “beyond an apocalypse,” Sakhi said. Photo is by Tessa Sakhi|薩基說:“這超出了天啟。” 圖片是泰莎·薩基(Tessa Sakhi)

“Every single person in the city and outskirts had a near-death experience and is suffering from physical injuries and emotional trauma,” she explained. “Physical and psychological scars we will carry for the rest of our lives.”

“The scale of the explosion and the amount of damage it has caused will take years to rebuild.”

她解釋說:“城市和郊區的每個人都有接近死亡的經歷,並且遭受身體傷害和情感創傷。” “我們將在餘生中承擔生理和心理上的傷疤。”


“It’s like a nuclear bomb happened”|“就像發生了核彈一樣”

Ghotmeh recently completed her first project in Beirut, the Stone Garden housing complex, which is located about a kilometre from where the explosion occurred.

“The next day I went to the site immediately,” the architect said.

“I was shaking because it’s close by and I didn’t know what to expect. And it was there, just standing, but all the glass had shattered completely. It’s like a nuclear bomb happened.”

Only a few apartments were occupied, and the tenants and people working on the project had all escaped unharmed.





Tenants and workers escaped unharmed as Stone Gardens was hit by the blast. Photo is by Lina Ghotmeh|石頭花園被爆炸擊中,房客和工人倖免於難。 照片由Lina Ghotmeh攝

Ghotmeh had intended the building to be a bunker or protective shield for the city. “As a child here, you grew up with the city completely destroyed and being reconstructed,” she said.

“It has always been able to rebuild but that always a part of the feeling and I wondered, how can architecture be a place of shelter?”

戈特梅曾打算將這座建築用作城市的掩體或防護罩。 她說:“小時候,你是在這座城市被完全摧毀和重建的過程中長大的。”


All the glass in the Stone Garden complex had shattered. Photo is by Lina Ghotmeh|石花園建築群中的所有玻璃都破碎了。 照片由Lina Ghotmeh攝

Lighting designer PSLab said that its Beirut headquarters, which includes one of the city’s only Bauhaus buildings was been completely destroyed.

“PSLab Beirut HQ is gone, completely wiped,” said Abboud, communications director of the lighting brand. “One of our buildings is one of the only remaining Bauhaus buildings of Lebanon. Structurally it is not salvable.”


照明品牌傳播總監Abboud表示:“ PSLab Beirut HQ已經消失,被徹底抹去了。” “我們的一棟建築是黎巴嫩僅存的包豪斯建築之一。從結構上講,這是不可挽救的。”

The PSLab in Beirut is “gone, completely wiped.” Photo is by PSLab|貝魯特的PSLab被“徹底清除”。 照片由PSLab提供

According to Abboud, much of the neighbourhood surrounding the headquarters was also destroyed, but she was confident it would be rebuilt.

“Our neighborhood has a small gem collection of old Lebanese houses – they are mostly gone,” she continued. “It will surely rebuild. We will rebuild. But the old Mar Michael and Gemayze neighborhood is forever gone.”


她繼續說:“我們附近有一些黎巴嫩老房子的寶石收藏-它們大多不見了。” “它肯定會重建。我們將重建。但是舊的Mar Michael和Gemayze社區永遠消失了。”

Increasing anger with “corrupt government”|對“腐敗政府”的憤怒加劇

In the aftermath of the explosion the people of Beirut have come out to help get the city back to normal, but there is also a lot of anger among residents.

“There is a lot of anger as well, against the government and against the negligence that has been happening,” said Ghotmeh. “People want to change that.”

Abboud added that she was “angry” as “for five years we have been working with those dangerous chemicals under our noses.”


戈特梅說:“對政府和對已經發生的疏忽也充滿了憤怒。” “人們想改變這一點。”


Beirut residents are angry about the negligence behind the explosion. Photo is by PSLab|貝魯特居民對爆炸背後的疏忽大為惱火。 照片由PSLab提供

According to Sakhi there is little sign of help from the Lebanese government on the ground.

“The French and German aids are present, yesterday the French president was amongst us on the streets,” she said. “But none of our so-called Lebanese authority aids, and a government we have been revolting against since our Revolution in October 2019.”


她說:“法國和德國的援助物在場,昨天法國總統就在我們中間。” “但是,我們所謂的黎巴嫩當局都沒有提供援助,而且自2019年10月革命以來,我們一直在反抗政府。”

There is now “massive anger” over corrupt government, Sakhi said. Photo is by Tessa Sakhi|薩基說,現在對腐敗的政府有“巨大的憤怒”。 圖片是泰莎·薩基(Tessa Sakhi)

People are devastated, she added. “Our homes were our only safe haven from such an unstable country, now we are left with nothing. Grief and mourning, for the friends and family we lost and got injured. And anger. Massive anger towards our corrupt government for their 40 years of murders and criminal acts.”

The explosion ravaged some of the city’s most important and historical architectural landmarks, as well as museums, galleries, residences and residencies.

“They survived the 15 years civil-war but did not survive this explosion, that is how strong it was,” said Sakhi. The structural, electrical, mechanical and plumbing works are just inconceivable at this moment due to our financial and economical crisis. We do not have any money whatsoever to buy nor import anything.”

她補充說,人們被摧毀了。 “我們的家園是我們在如此動蕩的國家中唯一的避風港,現在我們一無所有。悲痛和哀悼,為我們失去親人和受傷的親朋好友。憤怒。對我們腐敗政府40年來的巨大憤怒 謀殺和犯罪行為。”


薩基說:“他們在15年的內戰中倖存下來,但沒有倖免於這次爆炸,那是多麼強大。” 由於我們的財務和經濟危機,目前無法想像結構,電氣,機械和管道工程。 我們沒有任何錢來購買或進口任何東西。”



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