Beit Beirut is a museum and cultural center where Beirut’s history and civil war struggle are exhibited. It was known as -Yellow House- or -Barakat- before it was restored. It was restored and used as a cultural center and was called Beit Beirut. The Barakat Building was designed and built in 1924 by the Lebanese famous architect Youssef Aftimus for Nicholas Barakat and his wife Victoria. The building was hosting the middle class families of Lebanon until the civil war erupted and the Christian militants settled.
The location of the Barakat Building was clearly visible in the war zone. For this reason, it became indispensable for snipers. The warring was an important position because of the borderline separating the two sides. Yellow House known as Sodecco Junction; Because it took good care of the road separating Muslim and Muslim Christian neighborhoods in western Beirut, he was used for military purposes such as controlling the environment.
Due to the situation, the civil war caused serious destruction in the Barakat Building; The structure, which was eroded by repeated vandalist acts, was thoroughly destroyed by negligence. As a result of all these developments, the owners decided to sell the building. In 1997, it was decided to collapse the building. But destruction was stopped by the architect Mona Hallak. Afterwards, activists engaged in a lot of action for the building. In 2009, the building was restored by the leadership of the Lebanese architect Youssef Haider to be a museum and cultural center. Together with the municipalities of Beirut and Paris, the opening of the event was in 2017 as a result of an adventurous process in collaboration with the French Embassy in Lebanon.
The building was also built using dark yellow limestones called Deir el Qamar, which also gave the building the name –Yellow House-. The structure was built in the classical Ottoman style; In addition to the roof terrace, it consists of a two-storey and four-storey residential block. The two-block façade is combined with an open column decorated with a wrought-iron work. The blocks are separated by a central courtyard connected to the main entrance. The facades of the building facing the city are decorated with fine iron work and combined with raised columns.
The restoration of this building, which is expected to be a visual evidence of history, is foreseen as a modern construction. A colony of concrete was added to the southern facade of the building, which was heavily damaged by war. These columns beside the aesthetic image; They were a characteristic example of the transition from stone to concrete by using local materials and construction technique. As a result of the war, all these remains of the war have become an open-air museum in itself, by not touching the bullet holes and other damage that occurred in the building.
The building is full of bullets and columns; It has become one of the important symbols of the civil war in Beirut. Lebanese intellectuals and architects; they argue that this collective monument will help the Lebanese to repair these social divisions. Restoration decisions were born from this idea. Although the exterior facade has not been renovated, it has not been touched on the ground part of the building’s ruined front to be a reminder of the city’s history of war. Even sniper barricades were left in the same position. The first floor reflects the civil war as it is.
The second floor of the building; The documents, records and municipal archives describing the history of Beirut are an exhibition. Upper floors; it is used for exhibiting cultural, artistic and musical events. In short, the Beit Beirut building has many functions, such as a museum, a cultural and artistic meeting place, Beirut city archive, city planning office and underground parking.
Today, this building is an extraordinary building which is built by affecting from civil war – the war architecture – and the interior architecture synthesis.