When he was a young architect, Imad Gemayel had a crisis of conscious. Learning that one of the spaces he had built was to become just another vacation home for a client, Gemayel asked himself: “Did I improve this site by changing it from a natural environment into a built one? For a very limited amount of people to use only two months a year?”
Gemayel worried that he was contributing to a cycle of constructing without purpose, he says in a talk at TEDxBeirut. He took stock of the real estate business in his home city of Beirut and felt that it was all “building and selling, building and selling, no questions asked.”
“Nothing about the purpose, or the market needs, or the location — whether in riverbeds, mountain crests, or waterfront,” he continues, factors that are necessary to make structures that are well-thought-out, that take into account the natural environment, the building’s purpose, and ways to contribute to the city’s greater well-being, he believes.
“I felt the need to convert to something more purposeful,” Gemayel says. “So as a converted architect, the first thing I do when a client walks in — instead of jumping up and down in my seat — I try to convince him not to build.”
Find out why in his talk below:
Insight from the TEDx office — why we like this talk:
The speaker presents an idea about which he is passionate — shifting the way people think about architecture and construction, from buildings as status symbols or landing pads to buildings as carefully constructed elements of the community. He uses his experience as an architect to shape the idea, and gives specific examples of how his idea plays out in the community through his building projects.