Founded in 2004, SOMA architects is an international architecture firm based in New York. The firm focuses on incorporating creativity, craft, digital technologies and its responsibility towards nature. Their projects spread all over the world, mainly in New York, Lebanon, Jeddah, Doha, and other international markets. It is one of the fast-growing firms which closely works with clients to fulfill their needs and desires. They provide good adaptable designs and planning that can evolve with the needs of the clients. The principal founding partner of the firm, Michel Abboud, is known for his good work, and the firm offers services in Residential, Commercial, Hospitability, Institutional, condominium, and mixed-use developments. One of such projects by SOMA is The WAVE, housed in Beirut, Lebanon. It is a residential project located in one of the oldest districts of Beirut and its designing process began in 2010.
Recently completed in 2017, this project by SOMA for the Zardman group, was a corner site plot that faced many challenges and required hundreds of man-hours to design and then build the structure. The site is located in Achrafieh’s Mar Mitr quarter, with its longer edge facing south and the shorter one facing west. Such orientation of the site demanded a good solution in terms of protection from the heat and the sun. SOMA is known for its double-skinned design, but in this case, the second skin was a necessity. They created a second skin in a layered form to gain protection from excess sun and light. A wave-like wrapper was created for the building to get a solution. This skin pattern provides much-needed privacy, visibility, and reflects indirect natural light deeper into the inner spaces of the building.
The project WAVE is known for this rippled pattern of the skin, which gave the building its name. SOMA designed the second skin, keeping in mind the purpose as well as the aesthetics of the screening. They have used digital tools to strike a balance between creativity and crucial technical requirements, without disturbing the aesthetic aspect. The efficient horizontal louvered system, which is parametric design, has been achieved using digital software. These louvers vary according to the privacy and sunlight requirements of the interior spaces. The lesser the need for privacy and sun screening, the lesser the thickness of the louvers. This gives the skin its much-talked wave-like form.
The WAVE has won the popular A+ award in 2017, in the Mid Rise category. Designed by SOMA Architects, the building gives a dramatic effect that strikes a bold contrast with the surrounding in Beirut.