In 1962, the Brazilian ambassador Bolivar de Freitas invited Oscar Niemeyer, on behalf of the Lebanese government, to design the Permanent International Fair complex for the city of Tripoli.
Niemeyer criticized the process that led to the selection of the site, arguing that it should have been preceded by in-depth study of the urbanization of the region in order to guarantee the organic integration of the fair with the future expansion of the city. He would have also preferred a coastal site. His proposal put forward an entire new city quarter, with the fair as its focal point, accommodating a culture and leisure programme. Between the fair and the sea coast he proposed zones for housing, commerce, sports, entertainment and tourism – the latter forming a link between the fair and the sea – paying particular attention to the problem of housing, which he saw as being debased and subjected to commercial interests.
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