Text description provided by the architects. Jade is a midrise multi-unit residential building in Salmiya, Kuwait. The design of the building aims to facilitate an urban and sustainable way of living for young families. The building occupies a compact urban lot in a high-density area, straddling the upscale Arabian Gulf Road and the less affluent inner-city neighbourhoods. North and west facades are privileged for their open views defining the building's image through an understated yet expressive design.
The architects organised the living units around the access core with interior gardens connecting different living spaces. Social spaces face the main avenue and the sea, while private areas turn to the southeast side. By manipulating patio and balcony positions, different floorplans are achieved. The singularity of living spaces becomes the essence of the project. The individuality expressed in the floorplans translates into the facades creating a staggered composition that brings lightness to the tower volume with the dialogue between concrete, glass and Perforated metal panels.
To adapt and optimise the design to Kuwait's extreme weather, the architects decided to use passive strategies to generate microclimates within the apartments. A careful analysis of the sun movements with the height of surrounding buildings helped develop the façade by employing strategic subtractive operations. The perforated metal cladding with a weatherproof coating acts as adequate thermal protection, along with the insulated concrete panels, to withstand the harsh desert climate.
An internal garden was strategically placed inside every apartment unit on the periphery to act as a sun barrier and funnel the wind to facilitate natural ventilation. The façade of the building and the internal gardens helps control the microclimate in the livable areas. The materials used comprise a very restrained palette of metal surfaces and concrete finish accounting for durability. The architect decided on a low impact approach, considering sustainable material choices and lowering the energy consumption by using intelligent sensors while respecting the budget constraints.
Some critical issues plaguing Kuwait's current multi-unit housing typology include a lack of identity, insufficient natural lighting, lack of accessible green and communal spaces, ineffectively planned apartments, inadequate parking, etc. The building takes these issues heads on and is successful in mitigating these factors. The units are optimised and designed as comfortable living spaces with internal gardens. Plenty of natural lighting and passive cooling techniques create pleasant habitable conditions. It disrupts the existing monotonous housing typologies by creating apartment units that have character and individuality. Tenants’ interaction is encouraged with social spaces incorporated in the ground + roof levels; furnished lobby spaces, accessible green spaces, kids play area, gym, pool, etc.
The design explores a new typology by adapting and scaling up the traditional middle eastern courtyard house concept with Mashrabiyas (privacy screen) in a multi-level, multi-unit scenario without compromising the vernacular's original qualities while combating extreme weather typical to Kuwait.