You might think that anyone hoping to erect a large building in a spot currently occupied by a house with protected status would be out of luck. However, developers Zardman and New York's SOMA Architects recently started work on a project that proves otherwise. Bobo is a mixed-use residential building that will dramatically overhang the facade of a protected 1920's-era home in Mar Mikhaël, Beirut.

Originally designed back in 2010, the Bobo project looks, frankly, like one of those over-ambitious concepts that was destined to remain on the drawing board, and it is sure to polarize opinion. The 11-story building will include 13 new luxury residences, and work around the existing home. The interior of the house is already gutted, and the resulting space will be used as a high-end retail space and art gallery.

Bobo itself is largely glass, supported by a steel exoskeleton, and anchored by a concrete core. Obviously, the project poses a significant engineering challenge, and, as can be seen in the construction photos in the gallery, SOMA is required to excavate to a depth of six floors to accommodate the necessary foundations.

"The challenges that were presented to our design by the necessity of keeping the facade of the house in place created an opportunity in the end. Our design for Bobo blends the old with the new in a rapidly changing neighborhood," says Michel Abboud, founder of SOMA Architects. "We are thrilled with the outcome and happy to see foundation work there begin."

Gizmag reached out to a SOMA rep and we were told that the Bobo project is expected to be completed in early 2017.

Source: SOMA

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