Khalil Khouri: On Airplanes, Red Dreams, and the Female Figure

Lecture by Bernard Khoury

Monday, June 17 | 8pm

Bernard Khoury recounts in this talk the fabulous story of an impossible modernity. Neither a retrospective, nor an objective account of the modern history of our territory, this is Bernard’s story of his father Khalil Khoury, a prominent modernist architect, and of his passion for aeronautic engineering, painting, hunting, politics, industrial design, and above all, the female figure.

Described as modernist and brutalist, Khalil Khouri was one of the first artisans of exposed concrete. He co-founded, with his brother Georges, an architecture and industrial design studio. Together, they produced works that have left their mark on the country's and the region’s architectural landscape. These include the Municipal Stadium of Jounieh (1963), the College des Freres Mont-La-Salle (1970), the Galerie Schèmes building (1973), the Manar seaside resort (1982) and The Tilal mountain resort (1996), Perhaps his most spectacular architectural achievement, the Interdesign showroom building, was conceived in 1973 and completed in 1997 to exhibit the furniture he designed and produced. Today, it is recognized internationally as a very significant piece of brutalist architecture. Khalil Khouri spent the last seven years of his life in the U.S. where he continued practicing architecture. His last work, a medical building in Miami was completed in 2009 a year after he passed away. Between 1959 and 1984, and as one of the pioneers of a local modernity, he taught architecture at the American University of Beirut. From 1972 until 1991, Khouri represented Architects in the Lebanese Order of Architects and Engineers. He was also a member of the Higher Council of Urban Planning for more than twenty years and collaborated with the Parisian Workshop of Urban Planning on the Master Plan for the reconstruction of downtown Beirut (1977). He published numerous articles on architecture in various publications and took part in countless international congresses, including the International Union of Architects congress held in Cuba (1963), Varna (1972), and Mexico City (1978).

Bernard Khoury studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and received an M.A. in Architectural Studies from Harvard University. He has lectured and exhibited his work in prestigious academic institutions in Europe and the U.S., including a solo show of his work given by the International Forum for Contemporary Architecture at the Aedes gallery in Berlin (2003) and numerous group shows including YOU prison at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin (2008) and Spazio at the opening show of the MAXXI museum in Rome (2010). Over the past fifteen years, his office has developed an international reputation and a significant diverse portfolio of projects both locally and abroad.