TOPOTEK 1 has won an international competition for the design of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences. Unanimously selected from a list of 60 first stage entries and 10-second stage finalists, the winning scheme seeks to become “a cosmopolitan institution that promotes excellent and future-orientated science,” situated between a parkland and seaport.
Carefully integrated into the existing environment, the complex is characterized by a distinctive typology merging two buildings with a park landscape. Fostering a cohesive visual dialogue with the surroundings, the new low-rise buildings are connected by a new inviting public space.
Inspired by notions of the patio and the oasis, the scheme adapts ancient building strategies to minimize direct sunlight while enjoying the benefits of natural illumination within the built form. The buildings are perforated by a series of horizontal and vertical geometric voids of different shapes and sizes in the façade, roof, and interior, creating a series of “inner landscapes” that unfold as visitors walk through them.
The three-story slab of the new Headquarters Building is suspended on columns above an open public space. With a height of just 18 meters, the building offers respect to the adjacent high-rise 1960s building, complementing its form and appeal. Its façade is perforated by three deeply-recessed niches, the largest of which features an expansive glass terrace facing the harbor.
The new conference center strikes a simple, elegant cubic form, spanning 12 stories with an intricate, multifaceted interior accommodating a modular, flexible workplace. An open space passes beneath the structure, creating a glass-encased foyer framing views of the beach and sea. The scheme features elaborate patios and cutouts, echoing the Headquarters Building, filtering sunlight while creating an interplay of light and shadow.
Connecting the two buildings, a lush Green Corridor originates at the KFAS Scientific Center, runs along the existing seaside promenade, passed beneath the Headquarters building, and continues along the harbor to extend past the Conference Center to the beach. Imagined as a “harmonious extension of the northern coastal promenade,” the park embodies the existing landscape design’s rhythm of palm trees and small hills.
Construction of the scheme is expected to begin in 2021, and completion in 2023.
News via: TOPOTEK 1