Youssef Aftimus

Infobox Architect

name= Youssif Aftimus
birth_date=birth date|1866|11|25|mf=y
birth_place= Deir el Qamar, Chouf, Lebanon
death_date=death date |1952|09|10|mf=y
religion=Greek Catholic
spouse=Rose Bechara
significant_buildings= Beirut City Hall and Hamidiyyah Clock Tower

Youssef Aftimus (25 November 186610 September 1952); (يوسف أفتيموس) was a Lebanese civil engineer and architect who specialized in Arabo-Mauresque architecture. Aftimus was the author of many of Beirut’s landmarks such as the Municipality Building, the Grand Serail Clock, the Hamidiyyeh Fountain and the Barakat Building (the later becoming a controversial issue in the 1990’s). Aftimus was also an academic, a journalist, and a visionary urban planner who proposed, in the late 1940’s, to demolish Beirut’s Central District with a nuclear bomb in order to reconstruct it properly. A man of ideas and ideals, he was an uncommon figure. [Youssef Aftimus (1866-1952), pioneer in Lebanese Architecture", Al Mouhandess, n11, summer 2000, by Carma Tohme.] More than an engineer and an architect, Aftimus was also an enthusiastic patriot, politician and philanthropist.|ALBA]

Early life

In 1875, Aftimus attended school at Collège des Frères in his hometown of Deir el Qamar, where he proved to be a studious and creative learner. In 1879 he transferred to the Syrian Protestant College (later known as the American University of Beirut to complete his studies. From Beirut, Aftimus traveled to New York where he attended as of 1885 the Union College for engineering studies and graduated in 1891.The Pennsylvania Railroad company presented Aftimus with his first job; he worked on the Hudson Canal and the Pennsylvania Railways.
n 1893 Aftimus worked on the construction of the Persian Palace, Turkish Village and Cairo Street, which were pavilions at the 1893 World's Columbian Expositionin Chicago. Cairo Street was a particularly popular attraction in the fair.Aftimus then travelled to Antwerp and the following year to Berlin to resume his architecture studies. Meanwhile construction work was underway on the Grand Serail Clock tower.
Aftimus married Rose Bechara, daughter of Bechara al Muhandes, engineer at the Municipality of Beirut in 1899.

Career in Lebanon

Between 1898 and 1903, Youssef Aftimus became an engineer of the Municipality of Beirut where he met Bechara Al Muhandes his future father in law. In 1900 the Hamidiyyeh Fountain, designed by Aftimus was dedicated by the Beirut Municipality to Sultan Abdelhamid II. The fountain, originally on Riad el-Solh/as-Sour sq. is presently in the Sanayeh Garden. He worked as a consultant for the Beirut Municipality consultants office in partnership with Emile Kacho in 1911.Aftimus won the Municipality building competition in 1923, the building stands at Weygand and Foch crossroad, a crowning jewel of the Maarad district.

Other works

* 1924 Nabatiyeh: drinking water supplying. Beirut N.Barakat building (bf 1237)
* 1925 buildings in the Hotel-Dieu de France hospital *
* 1927 Construction of Aftimus House (Kantari)
* 1929 Conference on Arab Architecture. _(Death of his son Fouad Aftimus)_. Construction of Issa blg (Trad Hospital), housing the US consulate.
* 1932 Zouheir blg (Haïgazian College) 1933 Beirut Municipality building. Sage Hall (BUC).

=Unrealized projects=
* Unbuilt project for a Greek Catholic Cathedral.

Not Proved

* Grand Theater in Beirut facing Maarad St.

Works Abroad

* 1903 irrigation projects in Upper-Egypt for the Egyptian Govt
* 1910 Iran: works in the North of the country

The "Yellow building" controversy

The Barakat mansion (Yellow building).
Sentenced for destruction in 1997, this heavily damaged mansion stands at the Lebanese civil war demarcation line. It was saved by Lebanese who take pride in their heritage and who have led a hard struggle (particularly the architect Mona Hallak). Articles were published in the press almost every day, petitions, websites, rallies in front of the building… Finally, the decision to destroy it was suspended in 2003 and the municipality of Beirut decided to acquire it in order to install a memory museum with objects tracing the 7000-year history of the city. The municipality counts on the support of France to advance the restoration. [ [ Regarder, vivre, écrire le Liban! » histoire ] ]


* Youssef Aftimus (1866-1952), pioneer in Lebanese Architecture", Al Mouhandess, n11, summer 2000, by Carma Tohme.
* 1891 Union College Yearbook
* watercolor Thure de Thulstrup. Brown, Julie K. Contesting

External links


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