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Site visit: Kuwait Investment Authority

by Yamurai Zendera on Jul 6, 2015

Kuwait Investment Authority has been designed by KEO.
Kuwait Investment Authority has been designed by KEO.

Electrical components, power feeds and cooling plants are all a fundamental part of any office design – but remain hidden in the modernistic interior lines, atriums and courtyards of a new landmark on the Kuwait City skyline.

The past prosperity of the state – symbolised by the pearl diving dhows which sailed the Arabian Gulf – and its prospects for a bright future based on finances and investment come together in a design by KEO which is set to become a “beacon for the city”.

The practice is working on a new headquarters for the Kuwait Investment Authority inspired by four elements based on traditional Islamic design – the courtyard, sustainability, the Mashrabiya geometric shapes.

Innovative MEP is a major part of the new landmark soaring above the cityscape – including underfloor power, electrical and computer feeds and a floor-based cooling system.

Design director Raj Patel said: “The building is really in two parts. The large horizontal podium containing a VIP Reception Hall, Conference Centre, Dining Hall, and public spaces are in the shape of a dhow – the vessel which bought riches to the country through fishing and pearl diving.

“And the vertical modern tower piercing the skyline, which contains the private offices for the employees. It represents the future wealth of the country and its increasing global presence.

“Both forms are majestic and a powerful symbol of the past and future which remind the occupants and visitors that both can be celebrated in one project,” he added.

The 220m tall tower is lifted six floors off ground level so the podium building appears to slip through it. The tower consists of 40 floors which are stacked in five office courtyard atriums of eight floors each. Each of these eight storey courtyards has a two storey atrium extending to the east, a four storey atrium extending to the north, and a two story atrium extending to the west. A central 16m x 16m open void on each floor is what links the eight floors together.

The top floors are for KIA’s executives and will feature a board of director’s meeting room at the very top with a large glass wall overlooking the city.

A total of 2,500 large panels made of granite from Italy are currently being assembled at ground level to create the building’s facade and they are then individually being hoisted into position by a crane.