CAIRO: A Portuguese architect is proposing to create a memorial park at the site of the deadly explosion that rocked Beirut last month.
To remember the blast and its victims, Tomas Reis is dreaming of creating a memorial at the site as part of the reconstruction of the port.
The explosion on Aug. 4 killed at least 190 people, injured thousands and caused widespread damage across the city.
The blast deepened Lebanon’s political and economic crisis, with the government resigning and France leading efforts to stabilize the country.
It is unclear whether Beirut’s officials have even begun to discuss what to do with the site at the center of the explosion.
Reis, 29, decided to go ahead and create initial illustrations of his personal project, which so far has no support from any organization, he told Arab News.
Although he has never been to Lebanon, Reis was moved to start drawing plans “voluntarily” after seeing the amount of damage “Beirut suffered from the blast when Lebanon has been facing difficulties,” he said.
“Some cities change with specific events - think of the great fire of London, the bombing of Hiroshima or the earthquake of Agadir. These events are turning points.
“Should the blast be forgotten and the port rebuilt as it was? Should a reconstruction include a monument in a square?” he asked, saying this is how he was inspired to create the park designs.
Reis is proposing that the remaining elements at the blast site are intertwined with a landscape that follows concentric lines - like shock waves, resembling those of the explosion that occurred.
“The old grain silo in ruins, next to a crater that is more than 40 meters deep, is a very remarkable image, difficult to neglect,” he said.
He said that if his project was adopted, it would create a new image of the city without disregarding its past.