The Rose House Beirut
We don’t need more museums that try to construct the historical narratives of a society, community, team, nation, state, tribe, company, or species. We all know that the ordinary, everyday stories of individuals are richer, more humane, and much more joyful.
– Orhan Pamuk, The Innocence of Objects
It is a mistake to think of houses, old houses in particular, as being empty. They are filled with memories and faded echoes, of laughter, tears, and tempers that had ebbed and flowed between its walls, into the walls, over the years.
And then there were houses that breathed. They carried in their wood and stone, their bricks and mortar, a kind of ego that was nearly, very nearly is human. Alive, only more majestic.
Graciously overlooking the Mediterranean right next to the old lighthouse of Beirut, The Rose House (or Villa Rose) was built in 1882 by Mohammad Ardati. The Ardatis then lived in the house for a few decades, during which the likes of General De Gaulle came to stay as well.
While the first floor was leased to the American Cultural Attache Russ Linch and his family from 1959 to 1964, the American abstract painter John Ferren lived on the second. Then the first floor was leased to El Khazen family from 1965 till 2014, where Sami El Kazen (a renown architect and interior designer), transformed the interior into a world-class-worthy heritage. It is now holding the paintings of Tom Young, a British artist, for a two-month exhibition ending on December 31st.
I am in complete awe that this place is going to be preserved as a cultural public space. Lucky us, Hicham Jaroudi, the current owner, intends to renovate the place and continue to have it open to the public as an exhibition centre and museum for the next few years.
I’ll leave you to some pictures I took of the place. I promise to get better ones during daylight :)