SkyscraperCity banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

806 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is a building that most people rarely photograph or include among the must sees in kuwait.... i had been wanting to put up these pics since months...finally got some time off med school... hope u all enjoy the huge post!! :)

The Arab Organizations Headquarters Building, situated outside Kuwait City in Shuwaik, blends modern architectural techniques with traditional artisan crafts. Completed in 1994, it is home to four major Arab organizations: the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development, OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries), the Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation and the Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company.

Considered one of the most acclaimed buildings in the Middle East, it draws thousands of visitors from across the globe.

One of the most exciting examples of innovative architecture to emerge in Kuwait, the building serves as a modern, highly functional office building and a national landmark. Here modern technology has been adapted to the culture of the countries it represents. From the cool tranquillity of the Moroccan water wall to the intricate woodwork of the majestic Egyptian Mashrabiya, the building represents a celebration of traditional Arabic artisan skills.

An Imposing Yet Austere Facade Has Its Own Story to Tell

Blending traditional Arab house design with modern technologies, its imposing yet box-like exterior reveals little of the splendors inside the Arab Organizations Headquarters Building. A massive, inhuman gray cube of granite covering 54,000 square meters, dotted with deep-set, slanted windows on each face, confronts the visitor from several kilometers away. This silent, austere facade is intentional.

In a climate where daytime temperatures can reach 50° C, heat and light posed critical design challenges. The virtually maintenance-free rough stone and granite exterior creates a natural sand trap. Windows on each face of the building are deeply recessed and angled to offer indirect sunlight. In addition to extensive underground parking, parking pavilions are erected by the front fountain for VIP visitors.

In keeping with Arab architectural custom, the orientation of the building is entirely inward. In a generally hot and hostile environment, high exterior walls surrounding an inner courtyard, or hoche, offer privacy and protection from the sun's intense rays without forfeiting a feeling of airy openness.

Looking out toward Kuwait City, a huge glass wall dominates the northeast facade. This is the world's largest suspended glass wall and a key feature of the building. Designed to allow the maximum indirect light into the central atrium, the glass wall is a source of consistent natural light.

The Massive Handcarved Doors...Each Weighing One Ton

Yet, despite their massive size and weight, these doors are so well balanced that they will open at the touch of a finger. Intricately hand carved and painstakingly constructed, no nails or glue hold the individual pieces in place. This allows the wood to expand with the extreme heats of the region without harming the door.

On either side of the outside entrance, exquisitely carved Tunisian stone work can be seen.

Once inside, the building's soaring dimensions and breathtaking artistry capture the imagination. The visitor's attention is immediately drawn to the colossal Moroccan water wall with its colorful hand-crafted tiles and a complimentary Moroccan tile-work. Next to the waterfall is a wooden "Samarkand Tree" sculpture.

The Library

The Library of the Arab Organizations Headquarters Building features a graceful spiral staircase, an intricate wood screen and a Moroccan mosaic border around the carpet. The wood screen is carved in traditional Arabesque design. A mosaic border repeats traditional Arabesque patterns around the carpet in front of the library desk.

The Moroccan Decor of the Pre-function Hall

The ground-floor Pre-function Hall displays Moroccan design from the refined detail of the gypsum ceiling to the zellige mosaics adorning each wall and a fountain. The marble pillars are inlaid with Moroccan tiles. A Moroccan carpet covers the center of the floor. Even the small brass table surrounded by four chairs boasts an intricately designed base. Hand-painted door from Morocco lead from Pre-function Room. And every ornament, every stitch here has been executed by hand.

The dark lines isolating individual gypsum cupolas of the ceiling so that they appear to float , actually act as supply and return vents for the air conditioning. Here again aesthetics and function combine in this remarkable structure.

The Multi-functional Conference Hall Is the Building's Largest Meeting Venue

Furnished in black leather and cherry wood and equipped with remote controlled programmable lighting and simultaneous translation services, the Multi-function Hall is the largest conference room of the Arab Organizations Headquarters Building.

Large hand-woven wall-hangings, designed by a Kuwaiti artist, depict Arab history and culture, while enhancing the room's acoustics. A carved wooden suspended ceiling incorporates subtle lighting, enhanced by the indirect light that filters through the marble screen. The traditional star design of the floor is repeated in the inlaid tops of the cherry wood tables.

The Tunisian Room

The highly polished surfaces of the Tunisian Room reflect the exquisite craftsmanship of the Tunisian ceramic tile panels and exquisitely carved stone work. The huge marble conference table is surrounded by arches gracefully supported by double columns. The walls are carved Tunisian stone and the floors, columns and arches are hewn from Jordanian stone. Decorative panels of wood and stone repeat the ceramic designs. The Moroccan cedar wood of the ceiling fragrantly scents the air.

The Elaborately Decorated Damascene Room

Entirely Syrian in its decor, the Damascene Room serves VIP lounge for visiting VIP's. Its focal point, an elaborate marble fountain overflowing into a series of pools lends the soothing affect of gently rippling water. Seats line the walls offering guests the full effect of the room

The central focus of the Damascene Room, an elaborate mosaic fountain sends its waters spilling over into a series of subsidiary pools. The gently rippling water creates a soothing atmosphere for VIP visitors waiting in the diwaniya.

Thick stripes of indigenous stone in yellow, black and white form the walls. The colored stone sets off the painted wooden relief ceiling. The intricately inlaid floor is as smooth as glass.

No detail has been overlooked here. The brass planters carry out the arabesque design. Even the sprinklers and smoke detectors have been incorporated into the arabesques to retain the aesthetic harmony of the room.

The Cavernous Central Atrium

Albeit on a much more grandiose scale, the Central Atrium of the Arab Organizations Headquarters Building functions much as the traditional hoash or central courtyard of classic Arab house design. It serves as a common ground for the building's occupants and visitors... a comfortable area for socialization and interaction.

Imagine the feeling of lightness created by nine stories of pure air in the core of the building. The sky seems to stretch endlessly upward, unhindered by the large glass skylight in the ceiling and the enormous suspended glass wall on the north east.

Here we see many of the traditional features. The majestic Egyptian Mashrabiya towers a full nine stories high.

Lush vegetation and central trees (each over 40 years old) provide additional shade.

The Syrian fountain adds soothing water music. The marble floor repeats the geometric star patterns of the skylight and fountain.

Yet this is a thoroughly modern building with careful attention to every detail. Even in the vastness of the Atrium all areas are thoroughly accessible for maintenance.

To one side of the courtyard is a coffee area, with tables and chairs where one can sit and enjoy the Central Atrium's splendor.Here one can contemplate the magnificence of the architecture and the decor, shaded by Ficus trees and surrounded by beadwork screens and arched Mashrabiyas. A symbol of Paradise for early Muslims, the garden became a quintessential element of traditional Arab architecture

The Prayer Room

From the intricately carved cedar wood door to the nicely laid Moroccan stone of the walls, the decor of the Prayer Room is entirely Moroccan. Illuminated by subtle ceiling light and stained glass windows, the Prayer Room features a richly woven carpet, skilled stone work and a hand carved gypsum ceiling.

The Mamluk Room

In the style of 12th century Egypt, the Mamluk meeting room features a heavily carved oak ceiling, ornately paneled walls and a massive inlaid table. Carved beadwork mashrabiyas cover the windows and built-in bookcases showcase traditional arts. Yet, beneath all its medieval grandeur, this room also has all the modern technology and conveniences of a modern board room.

The Ultra-modern Meeting Room

This ultra-modern Meeting Room, made of glass, forms a sharp contrast to the ponderous 12th century grandeur of the neighboring Mamluk Room. Here the curved walls are made of glass and look out over the Central Atrium and into the offices across the way. The glass table sits atop sculpted marble pedestals.

Beautifully sculpted marble pedestals form the base for the large glass conference table in the modern Meeting Room. Green stone creepers climb the white marble stands, fusing art with the natural greenery of real plants and shrubs that abound throughout the building. The table is surrounded by leather and steel chairs in keeping with the room's ultra-modern decor.
Nature seems suddenly frozen in place in the marble pedestals and base sculpted by a Kuwaiti artist

The Bridge

Situated on the third floor at the base of the glass curtain wall, the Atrium Bridge allows building occupants and visitors to cross above the Atrium. The Bridge connects meeting rooms on one side and the Diwaniya and dining area on the other.

The Reception Room

The Diwaniya or Reception Room serves as a gathering room for visitors. A replica of an antique Mamluk carpet that was removed from the museum during the war, this carpet measures over 100 square meters. Here, as elsewhere in the building, modern day comfort combines effectively with traditional design to create a welcoming space.

The Building's Sense of Space and Openness Extends to the Office Floors

Glass walls and partitions enhance the openness of the office floors high above the Central Atrium. Many offices benefit from the magnificent view. The idea of transparency is so central to the design of the building that smaller atriums were added on the office floors.

Two stairways connect the seventh, eighth and ninth floors. Stairs and walkways facilitate movement between offices. Luxuriant plants and shrubs from the rooftop nurseries add to the peaceful, airy ambiance.

The furniture is limited to nine items, making the layout of the interior flexible. The pieces were selected for functionality and durability, with an eye to simple lines which would not detract from the overall elegance of the building. The cherry-wood workstations were tailor-made for the building and can be dismantled and moved as needed.

The chairman's office incorporates traditional carved woodwork and beaded mashrabiya.

The Grounds

Landscaping of the Arab Organizations Headquarters Building includes an ornamental stone garden.
Each stone has the name of a famous Arab poet, scientist, writer, philosopher or artist carved on it.


From a distance, the intentionally austere exterior offers little hint of the treasures within. wouldn't you agree!!! :)

116 Posts
This building is one of my favourite buildings of all the time....the concept design of combining Modernity and Islamic arts is the perfect...
1 - 3 of 3 Posts