Who are we
Public Works is a multidisciplinary research and design studio that engages critically and creatively with a number of urban and public issues in Lebanon.
Through collaborating with a network of professionals ranging from historians and journalists to artists and filmmakers, the studio initiates research projects that study, shape and implement counter strategies to urban planning and policy making in Lebanon. The studio also offers commissioned professional services in graphic design, architecture, consultancy, development planning and research within a communal work environment.
Public Works was founded in 2012 by architect / urbanist Abir Saksouk and designer / urbanist Nadine Bekdache, and is currently registered as a non-commercial Civil Company. It balances between commissioned work and self-initiated projects, an autonomous framework that allows for new possibilities of discussion, exchange and engagement to emerge.
We acknowledge the political and social dimensions of our respective professions. As architects and urban planners we revive, defend and produce socially-inclusive and sustainable spaces. As graphic designers we create and produce accessible and socially-relevant representations for public circulation.
Our previous involvement in research projects testifies to a major rift between the inclusiveness and equality we strive for and the harsh realities of urban politics.
In an effort to bridge this rift, the production and dissemination of knowledge in the Arabic language are central to our work, as tools that actively contribute to shaping public opinion around spatial and urban issues. Such knowledge is also critical for influencing policy-making and to engage dwellers as informed and active agents within their lived environments.
As such, our work and the research we initiate are rooted in the belief that all dwellers have the right to play an active role in creating the future of their desired city. Our projects aim to forge possibilities that make urban planning a democratic process where ordinary citizens can understand, judge and take decisions to make interesting, viable and just spaces.
Lama is an Economics graduate from Saint Joseph University, with over nine years experience in the banking sector. She currently oversees all areas of finance and administration at Public Works. She also handles the Human Resources procedures. Tala graduated with a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Lebanese University, Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts Branch II (2017), and received Academic excellence certificates and Scholarships from The Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development and the Lebanese American University. Her work focuses on land and housing issues in Lebanon, and includes studying and analyzing master plans of different Lebanese regions, monitoring planning institutions practices, and advocating for participatory approaches in planning and reconstruction.
Abir graduated as an architect in 2005, and later did her masters in Urban Development Planning. She is co-founder of Public Works Studio. Her primary focus includes urbanism and law, property and shared space, and right to the city of marginalized communities. She is active in exploring how local organizing could be employed in actively shaping the future of cities. Abir is also a member of the Legal Agenda and co-founder of Dictaphone Group.
Nadine is a practicing designer and urbanist, and co-founder of Public Works Studio. She researches socio-spatial phenomena through multidisciplinary methods; including mapping, imagery and film as both processes of investigation and representation. As part of her research on urban displacement, she authored “Evicting Sovereignty: Lebanon’s Housing Tenants from Citizens to Obstacles”, and co-directed “Beyhum Street: Mapping Place Narratives”. Nadine is also a graphic design instructor at the Lebanese University.
Jana is an architect and urban researcher. She completed her MA in Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts of the Lebanese University and has been working on projects covering the topics of national urban planning practices, housing policies and displacement, urban transformation, and history. Jana is also the creator of Beirut Architecture Tours that explores the urban planning history of Beirut.
Jana holds an MA in art direction from Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts - (ALBA). She enjoys focusing her energy on exploring the city in its layers and excavating the forgotten stories within. Talk to her for hours about Anthropology, Politics, or History and she will not get bored.
Ramy is a practicing Architect, holding a Bachelor in Architecture from BAU. His work focuses on human centered urban environments, urban mobility, data visualization, computational design, and advanced construction methods. He’s interested in community engagement in the design process, especially the stories each person/object tells, and how these shape a certain environment. He is currently a caseworker in the Housing Monitor project with Public Works.
Jana is an urban planner and researcher. She wrote in several Lebanese and regional newspapers and magazines on urban issues and feminism. She is also involved in organizing interactive urban tours, in Beirut and Sour -entitled 'Capitalism and the city' and 'city and power'- as a tool to make urban issues an everyday concern and find ways to organize local communities around them. She is a PhD student at Ljubljana University.
Rayan is a civil engineer holding a master’s degree in public works and road planning from the Lebanese University (2019), and a dual master’s degree in geotechnical engineering from the University of Lille-France and the Lebanese University (2021). Using a variety of research and fieldwork tools, she is interested in discovering the urban environment dynamics, and adapting the potential of such environment to serve people. Her work also includes monitoring and observing the changes of various urban elements and factors.
Christina is an architect and urban researcher, graduated with a Master’s degree in Architecture (2015) and Urban Planning (2017) from the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts of the Lebanese University. She is currently working on various research projects related to urban issues, public property and right to the city. Her work as a Community coordinator focuses on supporting the participation of the residents of the area affected by the Beirut blast and developing their ability and consciousness in influencing policies and claiming their rights.
Maya is a law graduate from the Filiere Francophone de Droit. She started her journey with Public Works as a volunteer for the Housing Monitor project, assisting with legal research. Maya is currently the legal coordinator to the Housing Monitor, and has also taken on the role of Advocacy officer for the Right to Housing.
Remy holds a diploma in Interior Architecture from the Lebanese University of Fine Arts in 2009. She has been designing and making jewelry since 2001. She enjoys exploring abandoned buildings in Lebanon. She currently manages Public Works Studio's social media pages, in addition to Content Creation.
Yara is an architect and urban researcher who graduated with an MA in Architecture from the Lebanese University in 2017, and is currently pursuing her masters degree in Urban Planning. She is interested in urban activism and how local organizing shapes the city. She is currently focusing in her work on urbanism in relation to law and the state from a perspective of the right to the city violation and on networking to raise advocacy on urban related issues.
Lama is an Economics graduate from Saint Joseph University, with over nine years experience in the banking sector. She currently oversees all areas of finance and administration at Public Works. She also handles the Human Resources procedures.
Tala graduated with a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Lebanese University, Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts Branch II (2017), and received Academic excellence certificates and Scholarships from The Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development and the Lebanese American University. Her work focuses on land and housing issues in Lebanon, and includes studying and analyzing master plans of different Lebanese regions, monitoring planning institutions practices, and advocating for participatory approaches in planning and reconstruction.