AD Classics: Kuwait National Assembly Building / Jørn Utzon

Covered plaza. Image © Jeffrey van der Wees

No single building typology reveals as much about a nation’s political culture as the seat of its government. Parliamentary or palatial structures can tell stories of bureaucratic sprawl, autocratic excess, democratic openness, and anything in between. Kuwait’s National Assembly Building, the home of its popularly elected legislature, is no exception. Much like the nominally-democratic, effectively-oligarchic government it hosts, the building projects conflicting messages of accessibility and regionalist modernity, referencing traditions that don’t necessarily exist in the country and sometimes ending up in direct contradiction with itself. As an emblem of political culture, the building is thus perhaps too accurate in its reading of the Kuwaiti story, yielding a revealing insight into the complex political fabric of the country through its own eclectic bricolage of ideas.

The Six / fikrr architects

© Nelson Garrido

Architects: fikrr architects
Location: Bnaider,
Architect In Charge: Fahad AlHumaidi
Area: 700 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Nelson Garrido

The Fragrance Kitchen / ARCHJS


Architects: ARCHJS
Location: Al Hamra Tower & Mall, Al-Shuhada Street, City,
Architect In Charge: Jassim Al Shehab
Area: 60.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Nelson Garrido

Kipco Tower / SSH International

© Nelson Garrido

Architects: SSH International
Location: City,
Developer: United Real Estate Company
Area: 96185.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Nelson Garrido

General Department of the Information System Competition Entry / AGi Architects + Bonyan Design

© Impresiones de Arquitectura

AGi Architects, in collaboration with Bonyan Design, recently won the competition to build the General Department of the Information System in . Their design is based on three principles: representativeness, security and functionality, turning the complex – with a total gross area of 135,482 sqm – into a strong civil icon representing ’s Ministry of Interior Affairs. The building design aims for the clear transmission of a conceptual duality it derives from: technology, innovation and transparency on the one hand versus strength, stability and security, which are inherent to the Ministry of Interior Affairs. More images and architects’ description after the break.

The Exhibition Hall / OMA

Courtesy of

OMA is designing a new department store concept in . The Exhibition Hall, in the popular 360° Mall, will showcase the creativity of the region alongside international fashion brands through a flexible curated retail space, featuring cultural programs, exhibitions and installations. The project is led by OMA partners Iyad Alsaka and Rem Koolhaas, in partnership with Tamdeen Real Estate Co.

Architects: OMA
Location: Kuwait City, Kuwait
Project Architect: Alessandro De Santis
Architects In Charge: Iyad Alsaka, Rem Koolhaas,
Collaborators: Tamdeen Real Estate Co.
Area: 9,400 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of OMA

Motor Sports Complex Museum Proposal / Marc Anton Dahmen | Studio DMTW

Courtesy of

The Motor Sports Complex Museum, which is located next to a new race track and a dragster speedway, is another component of the development in . Designed by Marc Anton Dahmen / Studio DMTW, its main function is to be a public showroom for the King‘s private collection of vintage racing cars. Besides the main exhibition hall with approximately 50 cars, it also houses a pit building including a garage for restaurant, a driving school for kids, a small conference center, a cinema and some private VIP spaces. More images and architects’ description after the break.

S Cube Chalet / AGi architects


Architects: AGi architects
Location: City,
Project Area: 750 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Nelson Garrido

MOP House / AGI Architects


Architects: AGI Architects
Location: , Kuwait
Design Team: Joaquin Pérez-Goicoechea, Nasser B. Abulhasan, Gwenola Kergall, Georg Thesing, Lucía Sánchez Salmón, María Eugenia Díaz, José Ángel del Campo, Daniel Muñoz Medranda, Hanan Alkouh, Nicolás Martín
Completion: 2011
Client: Private
Photographs: Nelson Garrido


Wafra Living Complex / AGi Architects

Courtesy of Architects

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. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Ubon / Rashed Alfoudari

Courtesy of

Location: Salhiya,
Project Area: 60 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photography: Courtesy of

Secret House / AGi Architects

© Nelson Garrido

Architects: AGi Architects
Location: Shuwaikh B,
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 2600 sqm
Photographs: Nelson Garrido

Tatami Japanese Restaurant / Jassim AlShehab


Architects: Jassim AlShehab
Location: Sharq,
Project year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of Jassim AlShehab

Star House / AGi

This video by architecture photographer Nelson Garrido provides an up close view of Star House.  Interviews of the architects of AGi describe the approach to this thoughtfully designed weekend getaway house.  An exploration of local construction techniques, rather than typical international standards, led AGi to create a design for Star House that would reinterpret the traditional arabic house.  This modern beach house for a prominent family weaves together culture and modernism through materials and traditions incorporating elements of desert and water.  The house is for entertaining and relaxation, therefore it had to accommodate plenty of guests, while maintaining the families privacy.  One way this was accomplished was by utilizing the vertical circulation of the house to separate public, private, and service spaces.  Follow the break for photographs and further description about this beach house in .

Architects: AGi
Location: Bnaider, Kuwait
Design Team: Dr. Nasser B. Abulhasan, Joaquin Perez-Goicoechea, Georg Thesing, Bruno Martins Alfonso Gomes, Daniel Muñoz Medranda, Robert A. Varghese, Abdul Hafiz Mohammed, Moyra Montoya Moyano
Project Area: 5,000 sqm
Project Year: 2007/2009
Photographs: Nelson Garrido

Black & White House / AGi Architects

© Nelson Garrido

Architects: AGi Architects
Location: Yarmouk, Kuwait
Project Team: Dr. Nasser B. Abulhasan, Joaquin Perez-Goicochea, Georg Thesing, Sharifa Alshalfan, Robert A. Varghese, Naseeba Shaji, Germana De Donno, Lucia Sanchez Salmon
Project Area: 3,415 sqm
Project Year: 2006-2009
Photographs: Nelson Garrido

Posh Cafe / Jassim AlShehab

Courtesy of

Architect: Jassim AlShehab
Location: 360 Degree Mall- South Surra,
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Courtesy of Jassim AlShehab