AGI Architects Design Wafra Living Complex in Kuwait | Architecture

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This is another project in Kuwait designed by an international architecture firm. I have no idea if it will actually be realized or just a concept for the WAF competition. I found the project interesting in terms of utilizing the best features of the location and enhancing others, allowing a great view for most tenants in addition to privacy and spaces to enjoy sports. In terms of aesthetics, I guess the openings are a bit too busy, but I would support it any day if it will be built with the exact characteristics mentioned by the architects.

 

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The design for the ‘Wafra Living’ complex by AGi Architects won the first prize in the future project/residential category in the WAF 2011 competition. The proposal consists of a high rise building set back from the street and an L-shaped building defining the street edge, conceived to maximize privacy within the community, whilst providing ample natural light and usable indoor and outdoor common spaces. Cuts have been made in the front building in order to provide better views for the lower floor apartments in the back tower. The proposal combines at different levels domestic and collective scales, private and public, within the complex, whilst at the same time traces the way to merge in the neighborhood by offering part of the ground floor level (where the pedestrian and car access are) to community life through the retail facilities included. At level +6.00 m is created a “High Square”, a community space for the tenants to enjoy sports or any other leisure activities in a more private environment.A “veil” climbs the façade as an occupiable layer that conceals the various service spaces within the apartments that do not directly relate to the public. It also hosts the fire escape stairs, separated away from the cores to be placed in this secondary circulation layer that faces the inner courtyard of the complex.

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Slider Station Goes To Oman | Restaurant Design

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Many of the international readers of this blog might have not heard of Slider Station; in Kuwait, however, it’s considered one of the must go to places, crowded all year long. Slider Station’s name is derived from the fact that the main concept evolves around sliders rotating on a conveyor belt. But that’s not what gave the restaurant it’s reputation, the high quality and innovative dishes have become its signature, allowing the owner Mr. Basil Al Salem to open a new branch in Oman and launch new concepts that are just as good such as  Burger Boutique with a branch in Saudi Arabia and the recently created Cocoa Room in Kuwait everyone is raving about.

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Mr. Basil Al Salem was kind enough to share these photos on Instagram of the new Slider Station to open in Muscat, Oman tonight. Everyone is expecting it to be a big hit, and there is every reason for it to be. The design is beautiful, I was specially intrigued by the lighting fixtures, but then when you get used to Mr. Salem’s style you would notice his avant garde approach to use of materials, he does not play it safe yet gets it right.

At this Slider Station he focused on the use of rusted metal to give the overall industrial and revolutionary look. The custom made bar stools are simply amazing.The location has a beautiful sea view. Chairs used are the Round Chair by Emu.

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Above is the signature Sliders’ conveyor belt and sauces bar.

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Love the revolutionary aspect added to the space.

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If you are headed to Oman or live there, this is a must visit place, you won’t regret it.

Kuwait International Airport By Foster + Partners | Architecture

 

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Last March, Foster + Partners were awarded the design of the new Kuwait International Airport. An event everyone travelling through the current airport was desperately awaiting. Architecture of Kuwait, a website dedicated to all architectural projects and news in Kuwait, shared these beautiful photos on their blog. I can say I am impressed , the photos speak for themselves. For more details and info check AOK .

 

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Project Name New Kuwait International Airport

Client Ministry of Public Works

Designer Foster+Partners

Local Consultant  Dar Gulf Consults

Status Approved- Design development

 

Source: AOK

Update details from Foster + Partners: (October 3, 2011)
“Kuwait International Airport is planned to significantly increase capacity and establish a new regional air hub in the Gulf – the project’s strategic aims will be matched by a state-of-the-art terminal building, which will provide the highest levels of comfort for passengers and will set a new environmental benchmark for airport buildings. Its design is rooted in a sense of place, responsive to the climate of one of the hottest inhabited environments on earth and inspired by local forms and materials.

The terminal has a trefoil plan, comprising three symmetrical wings of departure gates. Each façade spans 1.2 kilometres and all extend from a dramatic 25-metre-high central space. The terminal balances the enclosure of this vast area with a design that is highly legible at a human scale – for simplicity and ease of use there are few level changes.

To further aid orientation, the building is planned under a single roof canopy, punctuated by glazed openings that filter daylight, while deflecting direct solar radiation. The canopy extends to shade a generous entrance plaza and is supported by tapering concrete columns – their fluid, organic forms draw inspiration from the contrast between the solidity of the stone and the shape and movement of Kuwait’s traditional dhow sailing boats.

The project targets LEED ‘gold’ – it aims to be the first passenger terminal in the world to attain this level of environmental accreditation. The concrete structure provides thermal mass and the roof incorporates a large expanse of photovoltaic panels to harvest solar energy.

Foster + Partners has designed a flexible masterplan for the site, with the terminal strategically located to anticipate and enable future expansion. The airport will initially accommodate 13 million passengers per year, with the flexibility to increase to 25 million passengers and to accommodate 50 million passengers with further development.

Mouzhan Majidi, Chief Executive of Foster + Partners, commented:
“The scale of the airport shows Kuwait’s great foresight in recognising the benefits of strategic investment in future infrastructure. The environmental ambitions driving the project are equally impressive. We are pleased to have this opportunity to reveal our designs. The emblematic three-winged form will be as memorable from the air as from the ground – a new symbol of contemporary Kuwait, which resonates with its rich culture and history.”

Nikolai Malsch, a partner at Foster + Partners, said:
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Ministry of Public Works and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation Kuwait on the planning and design of the new airport. We have established an excellent working relationship with our client – we have a shared goal to create a terminal that is an exemplar of sustainable design and will establish Kuwait as the region’s leading air hub.”

Notes to editors:
• The layout of the apron is generated by aviation forecasts and is highly adaptable, with 35 flexible contact stands in its first phase.
• Drawing on the region’s culture of hospitality and welcoming guests to Kuwait, the design establishes an elegant and memorable arrival sequence for passengers, which includes a baggage reclaim area surrounded by cooling cascades of water.
• The design also features a grand new landside access sequence from the south – close to the building, the landscaping is a lush oasis, with strands of drier planting and species native to the desert climate extending further away from the terminal.
• Inside, the different functions are arranged over three floors: departures, arrivals and baggage areas.

Foster + Partners

Designer in the Spotlight | Jassim Al Shehab

Kuwaiti’s are most passionate about their food, this is what I learned in the past couple of years of living in Kuwait. The good thing is that they really know what they are doing, their restaurants offer the tastiest and most creative dishes, and the people behind these concepts are extremely talented. This post, however, is about one of Kuwait’s upcoming young designers, Jassim Al Shehab, who has done a great job in two very popular venues so far, one of which is the recently opened sushi place in downtown Kuwait, Tatami.

The restaurant feature a blend of finishes giving an industrial vibe at times, and another mellow ambience and clean cut structures as per Japanese norms.

The exterior of the restaurant was composed of elements that allow the venue to stand out and contrast against the glass structure of the building its located in, the colors are harmonious and soothing. The planters created the restaurants border separating it from the street.

The other project he worked on earlier, was Posh Café, located on Kuwait’s latest popular  Mall 360.

The materials used give a sense of luxury, the colors are brilliantly put together to give a sense of elegance and simplicity at the same time. This has to be one of the most well designed venues in Kuwait in terms of proportions and finishes.

Source

Skylines and Icons: The Controversy

Almost every city has its icon building or skyscraper making it the symbol of the city if not the entire country. Kuwait has its “Kuwait Towers” but now this might change, a new iconic tower is emerging. Like everything so big, controversy arises, many people are against it due to the high cost and its “alien” character in a city where no proper city planning has been done, others however are thrilled to have such a monument that would draw international attention. The AlHamra tower is 412m high, one of the 10 highest towers in the world, however this is not the main special characteristic of this tower, its pride resides in it being the tallest “sculpted” tower. It is about time we appreciate design and form over just height. This tower captures it all.

Its southern wall acts as the backbone of the skyscraper, yet it is designed to decrease solar radiation. In a country as hot as Kuwait, creating such an aspect that protects the building against harsh environmental conditions is essential.

It’s a pity how the area around it is very primitive with old 1 and 2 story structures that are an eyesore for everyone passing through the city. In addition to the unfortunate surrounding, the angle at which the tower is situated does not allow much ability for passers by to view the entire monument, it can only be seen fully from a distant angle.

Instead of criticizing the AlHamra tower for being among these buildings, instead, I think its a step to find a solution for everything that should NOT be there.

Below are images taken from AlHamra website, the video from Discovery’s “Build it Bigger” , and the last one from my phone’s camera couple of days ago to show the tower’s recent status.

For details, floor plans, and images please refer to the tower’s web site.

sculptural maquette of tower

Kuwait's New Skyline

Stage of completion of Al Hamra Tower now

Continue reading “Skylines and Icons: The Controversy”