Education / Research

Workshop atelier/terrain 2005 Saïda (Libanon)

From 17 to 26 November 2005, the municipality of Saïda in south Lebanon hosted CUPEUM’s yearly WAT. An eagerly awaited event for several scientific institutions in CUPEUM’s network, the WAT gathered 37 student participants including:

  • 13 from the Department of Urban Planning of the Institute of Fine Arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut (Lebanon),
  • 3 from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Cadi Ayyad (Morocco),
  • 3 from the National School of Architecture Rabat (Morocco),
  • 4 from the Department of Territorial and Town Planning at the Sapienza University of Rome(Italy) and 4 from the Department of Architecture at the same Italian institution,
  • 8 from the School of Landscape Architecture and 2 from the School of Architecture of the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Montreal (Canada).

The multidisciplinary educational activity combining landscape architecture, architecture, urban planning and geography, was a unique knowledge and idea sharing opportunity for students and professors from the North and the South. Part of CUPEUM’s "International Observatory of Peripheral Landscapes: Cities and Towns", WAT_UNESCO Saïda invited participants to reflect on the phenomena of development and urban sprawl of the northern part of Saïda: the Wastani neighbourhood. Considering various issues identified during field trips and meetings with elected officials, local experts and NGOs (non-governmental organizations), the participant needed to formulate strategies to develop this land for the municipality of Saïda. The issues at hand related to:

  • Territorial change (fallow land),
  • Social and cultural appropriation of the territory (residential and commercial development),
  • Enhancement of particular use (urban agriculture), preservation of environmental resources (plant biomass),
  • Protection of historic sites and archaeological attractions (Temple Echmoun),
  • Enhancement of the landscape, local identity and
  • Overall economic and social development of Saïda.

The enthusiastic involvement of the city of Saïda and of all municipal and regional officials - and particularly that of its mayor, Dr. Abed El Rahman El Bizri - was remarkable. She has contributed greatly to the success of this international event. Benefitting from all necessary infrastructure (housing, conference room, Internet and computer peripheral, etc.) and exceptional hospitality, participants met the challenge to propose several alternatives for the future development of the Wastani neighbourhood in Saïda. After 8 days of intensive work, the 9 teams of multicultural and multidisciplinary students - landscape architecture, architecture, urban planning, geography and tourism - produced landscape projects presented in texts, photographs, drawings and color plans. These were exposed at the end of the WAT in the lobby of Saïda’s city hall. Open to the general public, the exhibition gathered the most relevant considerations supporting each development proposal, in global and detailed perspectives.

WAT_UNESCO Saïda was a structuring activity for local communities and a unique experience of mutual learning among all participants. Under the auspices of UNESCO and its programmes - MOST (Management of Social Transformations), MAB (Man and Biosphere)and WHC (World Heritage Centre)– WAT_UNESCO Saïda was the result of a joint management between the Lebanese University and CUPEUM, a close partnership with the City of Saïda (its president and advisors) and regional representatives, a collaboration with the UNESCO Office in Beirut, a local coordination provided by Ms. Haifa Al-Amine and support of the Embassy of Canada to Lebanon.


37 students

Educational team

9 projects

Preparatory work of the students from the School of Landscape Architecture and the School of Architecture of the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Montreal

Lebanon, historical perspectives, social and cultural, geographical, spatial and urban development

Saïda, historical, spatial, urban and environmental characterization

Additional projects


Following a review of 9 landscape projects carried out under the WAT_UNESCO Saïda on the Wastani territory, the jury awarded the following prizes:

  • First price
"Du Dar au Radar" - project 6

    Team: Sébastien-Paul Desparois, Karim El Hassouni, Elisabetta Vitaletti, Alaeddine Ziadeh and Nicolas Zoghby

  • Second price 

    "EnRACINEment" - project 2
Team: Bechara Adam, Mireille Bou-Absy, Mohamed Akram El Harraqui et Luca Sartor 

  • Third price
"Vert Sidon - Interrelation entre bâti et végétal" - project 4
    Team : Kawthar Ammar Al-Ayass, Cheryl Arsenault, Hind Ottmani et David Rodier

Reference documents

Data mapping

Photo marking

Overview of Lebanon hinterland (North East)