AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

A symbol of the College's Mission and Function?


Main Gate, 1900s

Archives and Special Collections, AUB Libraries, Photo Collection

"The Main Gate faced inwards onto the campus and outwards onto the street, marking the meeting of the intramural world of SPC with the extramural world of Ras Beirut. In keeping with the supersized scale of SPC's architecture, the Main Gate's mass was distributed longitudinally East to West along the street and centered on an elaborate keyhole arched entryway, evocative of a triumphal arch"

Abunnasr, M. B. (2013). The making of Ras Beirut: A landscape of memory for narratives of exceptionalism, 1870-1975. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Amherst. P.2


 Aerial view of campus and Bliss Street, 1960s

 Archives and Special Collections, AUB Libraries, Photo Collection

A lot of ink and thought was spent figuring out the best location for the Main Gate: the Faculty finally set on a location mirroring the Main Building, College Hall, placed at a slightly high point both to accommodate the geological formation of the rising hill, but also to provide a vantage viewpoint, and convey a sense of magnitude and expansive horizons upon entry to the campus.



 Aerial view of Main Gate, 2010

 Archives and Special Collections, AUB Libraries, Photo Collection

The location of the Main Gate was also perfectly studied to create an equally powerful impact when approached from the Main Building, or College Hall as we know it today. College Hall, which was the first building to be erected, was designed and built to create an "awe" effect, with its towering clock, its colossal dimensions which must not have gone unnoticed by the standards and practices of the architecture of the era and region, thus conveying an imposing sense of grandeur. And yet, when looking uphill to the Main Gate from College Hall, one cannot but feel an equal sense of awe at what lies beyond the Main Gate.

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  Main Gate wrought iron, 1933

Archives and Special Collections, AUB Libraries, Photo Collection

A gate, solid and yet porous, to let life in and out.