Christians and Muslims gathered together to accompany the remains of the leader to its resting place. On February 14th, 2005, Rafiq Hariri, the Prime Minister of Lebanon, was murdered in an attack in a time of tensions with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. The Lebanese people, deeply divided, forgot their disagreements during such tragic event. Christians and Muslims gathered together to accompany the remains of the leader to its resting place. For many, this episode will be the «triggering event for Lebanon’s reestablishment». The ex-Prime Minister was buried at the foot of “his monument”, the huge Al-Amine mosque, which, with its four high minarets, dominates over the center of Beirut. Often referred to as the “Hariri mosque”, this colossus made of Lebanese stones, financed by the ex-Prime Minister himself, is considered as his power’s hallmark. Located in the Martyrs Square, Hariri’s resting place is highly symbolic as it stands at the frontier between East and West Beirut, which was the theater of many conflicts during the civil war. In the months following Hariri’s murder, his family reached out to the French architect Marc Barani in order to entrust him with the conception of the mausoleum. After the grandeur and the sumptuousness of the Al-Amine mosque and considering the Lebanese people’s taste for splendor and gleaming settings, one could have expected Hariri’s family desire to provide the deceased with a splendid grave. But this is not the case at all.
Marc Barani is familiar with “deathscapes”. Once his architecture degree was completed, he undertook a trip to Nepal. Upon his return, something stroke him: in the West, no one ever talks about death. While in Asia, death takes part of a highly ritualistic daily life, filled with sacredness, the European city has pushed-back the graveyards beyond its borders, and with them, the issue of death. Little afterwards, the architect has the opportunity to shape his insights as he is entrusted with the conception of two graveyards, which he designs as places where one can come merely for the sake of taking a walk, and not only as a place to rarely visit the dead. The conception of Rafiq Hariri’s mausoleum extends this reflection.