Bernard Khoury
Lebanon’s radical architect – Beirut
2005 – Ongoing
  • ‘Local Heroes’ Book

In a 2006 New York Times article, Nicolai Ouroussoff refers to Bernard Khoury as “…the bad-boy architect of the Arab world.” All reputations are difficult to live up to (or ignore), but this one is particularly burdensome. Basically, bad boys don’t care; they float between non-conformity and veritable performance. It is not surprising then that when the widely celebrated Lebanese architect set out to publish his first book, he opted for a much more authored take on the conventional architectural monograph. He decided to infuse the content with a sizeable component dedicated to an ongoing narrative of identity, place and belonging that lies at the heart of a post-war generation. In a sense, Khoury’s story is everybody’s story, a very different reality from the predictable megalomania of a rock star architect. We ourselves were more than thrilled to take part in interpreting this chunk of history in which we all feel implicated. The publication design process was akin to storytelling: moving through people, places and times, and punctuating the bookscape with moments that are nothing short of spectacular. Veritable performance, probably. Non-conformity, most definitely. Bad boy, not so much.

  • Bernard Khoury-Book cover

    Not by the book
    Bernard Khoury’s “Local Heroes” is closer in format to a novel than it is to an architectural monograph: an appropriate form to an unconventional content.
  • Bernard Khoury-Book pages 01

    Turning a page
    The first part of “Local Heroes” is essentially a story of return, set in the consistently hopeful and deceptive post-war Beirut everyone seems to be incapable of leaving behind.
  • Bernard Khoury-Book pages 02

    A page turner
    The second part of “Local Heroes” is a more classical project-by-project exposé, albeit informed by the narrative that precedes it.
  • Bernard Khoury-Cover and back cover

    Judged by its cover
    The dialectic between the cover and back cover is one of appearance and disappearance, themes that resonate well with the content of “Local Heroes”.
  • Bernard Khoury-Type details

    Hanging on every word
    With a narrative component as well as a more technically architectural one, typographic nuances come well into play.
  • Bernard Khoury-Image spreads

    The big picture
    Across the landscape of texts and images, enough room is given for certain moments of full-page exposure.
  • Bernard Khoury-Inside cover

    Jackets off
    Black foil on black fabric reveals itself beneath the protective layer of full-color printing.
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