The Serail Creativity Hub

  • Institutions
  • Business Sophistication
  • Innovation

In 2018, Prime Minister Saad Hariri adopted IDEAS’ proposal to transform the historic cross-vault hall in Beirut’s Grand Serail into a technologically-empowered working environment, and entrusted the Business Environment and Innovation Unit at the Prime Minister’s Office to follow up on its creation. IDEAS was called upon to bring the Serail Creativity Hub to life.

SCH Logo

Reviving a lost space

This once-forgotten cross-vault hall was used between 2018 and 2019 to host some of Lebanon’s most impactful conferences and events while awaiting the completion of funding rounds for the Serail Creativity Hub concept. IDEAS collaborated closely with the Presidency of the Council of Ministers on a series of events that posed as a prelude to the hub’s eventual functionality:

      • The MIT REAP program’s roundtable discussions on Agri-Tech, bringing together members of the Lebanese government and representatives of the Agricultural sector to discuss advancements in agricultural technology.

      • Lebanon’s first Digital Economy conference, announcing the Innovation Nation program for the first time in the presence of the World Bank the Lebanese ministers of Finance, Interior and Innovation, alongside OMSAR and a host of professionals directly concerned with the digitization mission.

      • A myriad of private sector startups, showcasing their entrepreneurial achievements under the Summer of Innovation Program

The Serail Creativity Hub

The Serail Creativity Hall is to be a digital oasis residing in the highest seat of Executive Government  – The Beirut Grand Serail. It is conceptualized to serve as the nation’s beacon for technological change and innovation it is an innovative, creative space embedded within the historical Ottoman-built 400-sqm setting which will preserve its original historical identity while functioning as an efficient, professional, digitally-enabled working space. The hub will serve as:
  1. A permanent space for round-table discussions between the public and private sector as well as NGOs, the academia, and any other stakeholders concerned with the advancement of the Lebanese economy.

  2. A Decision Support Center for the Lebanese Government, with the nation’s first geo-enabled database on the country, hosted at the space, and serving as a dashboard for national decision makers.

  3. A capacity-building center for the public sector, equipped and enabled with the latest in cross-border training technologies.

  4. A showcase for advancements and creativity in any discipline, be they related to technology, the arts, sciences, or any other dimension of innovation that could be present on the Lebanese territories, complementing and supporting while never competing with the private sector.

The Design Competition

To move this vision forward, the Lebanese Government – the asset’s custodian and eventual operator – should be in office. Interim time was used by IDEAS to finalize preliminary planning and technology costing exercises, until new government formation occurred in January 2019. As a ground-breaking step, IDEAS organized a Design Competition across Lebanon’s Faculties of Architecture, thus involving Lebanon’s creative youth in the conceptual design challenge of embedding a multi-faceted technological space within a historical Ottoman setting. A total of 164 students within 24 teams participated in a 7-week competition run by IDEAS. The competition was carefully judged by subject-matter experts, and eventually voted upon by the Prime Minister himself. A LL 10 million award was presented to the winning team whose members will participate in the actual detailed design and execution of the Serail Creativity Hub. 

H.E. Prime Minister Saad Hariri adopts the Serail Creativity Hub concept by IDEAS.

  • April 2018
IDEAS compiles first round of technology and construction offers for the Serail Creativity Hub, and submits a request for concept funding and operation to the Ministry of Telecommunications.
 
April 2018
May 2018

IDEAS Receives Approval for Partial Funding of the Hub

  • May 2018

IDEAS receives first round of funding for the Serail Creativity Hub

  • August 2018
August 2018
October 2018

H.E. PM Hariri re-affirms the transformation of the historical cross-vault hall in Beirut’s Grand Serail into a technologically empowered working environment. Announcement was made at the closing of the Summer of Innovation.

  • October 2018
IDEAS receives the second round of funding for the Serail Creativity Hub.

New Government Takes Office

  • Feb 25, 2019

IDEAS initiated action by involving Lebanese Architecture students in the conceptual design of the hub.

Feb 25, 2019
March 9, 2019

Design Competition Launched

  • March 9, 2019

IDEAS welcomes 164 students at the Grand Serail to introduce the Design Competition criteria.

Teams Invited to Take Live Measurements

  • March 23, 2019

24 teams spent ample time taking measurements at the Grand Serail and posed their queries to subject-matter experts dedicated to this project.

March 23, 2019
May 4, 2019

Pre-Selection by the Technical Jury

  • May 4, 2019

IDEAS brought together a jury of 5 subject-matter experts to technically short-list submitted designs

 

  • Ezzat Kraytem: Managing Partner – its Events & Project Manager - SCH Design Competition
  • Salim Ansari: Owner & Manager at ASYA Architects
  • Joy Hoayek: Project Coordinator at ZRE (Beirut Digital District developers)
  • Ramzi Roy Labban: Business Intelligence Expert
  • Milad Abu Jaoudeh: Director of Phoenix Management/ Serail Development Consultant

 

11 out of the 24 submissions passed the Technical Jury’s test.

Short-Listing:

  • May 8, 2019

IDEAS grouped a multi-dictionary jury of 9 to select the most practically viable design:

  • Ghiath Al Barazi: Co-Founder & Chairman - IDEAS
  • Ezzat Kraytem: Managing Partner – its Events & Project Manager - SCH Design Competition
  • Salim Ansari: Owner & Manager at ASYA Architects
  • Joy Hoayek: Project Coordinator at ZRE (Beirut Digital District developers)
  • Ramzi Roy Labban: Business Intelligence Expert
  • Nabil Bidawi – Senior Engineer – Khatib & Alami
  • Milad Abu Jaoudeh: Director of Phoenix Management/ Serail Development Consultant
  • Nayla Tueni: Chief Executive Officer at An-Nahar
  • Yasmina El Khoury: Head of the Business Environment & Innovation Unit at the Prime Minister’s Office

3 out of the 11 short-listed submissions were sent to the finals

Public voting launched through An-Nahar

May 8, 2019
May 26, 2019

Public Voting Closed

  • May 26, 2019

19,300 votes went towards 20% of the final scoring.

The Design Competition Awards Ceremony

  • May 28, 2019

IDEAS brought together the original Project Promoters and key stakeholders, alongside the developer of Lebanon’s first digital space, to vote using an online voting platform.

May 28, 2019
June 2019

Technology offer nearing finalization

  • June 2019

First draft of detailed designs submitted by ASYA Architects

  • September 2019
September 2019
October 2019

Project Status

  • October 2019

The Serail Creativity Hub is awaiting the securing of its full budget before launching the construction phase, all while IDEAS remains fully committed to all the programs running within and outside of the Serail's hub space, led by Bawabat Al Ibtikar.

© 2019 IDEAS. All Rights Reserved.

Close Menu