Project: Kuwait Towers

Designers: VBB / Sune Lindström and Joe Lindström / Stig Egnell / Björn and Björn Design_ Sweden

Client: Ministry of Electricity and Water

Completed: 1976

Location: Kuwait City, Kuwait

Awards: Aga Khan Award for Architecture

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The Kuwait Towers

The Kuwait Towers are one of the unique designed towers that became one of the main icons for Kuwait. As most of you know, Kuwait Towers are one of the attraction points in Kuwait where you can enjoy the view and a unique experience. Apart from that, they are considered as water towers.  They were designed differently due to their existence on the Kuwait Bay, and the tip of the Kuwait City waterfront.  Out of ten designs created, and three designs submitted, the one designed by architect Malene Bjorn was the one chosen.

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The program and the design called for a water storage capacity of 9000 cubic meters. As part of the design, certain public facilities were envisioned for the site. Reception and banqueting facilities, restaurants and observation areas were all considered appropriate to implement.  As an end result, all the features mentioned above were grouped together to bring together the magnificent sculptural grouping and iconic symbol of Kuwait.

“1- The main tower is a 185 meter concrete column supporting two spheres. The largest sphere, at a height of 75 meters, contains a restaurant, banquet hall, indoor garden and a cafeteria. The lower half of the sphere is reserved with a water capacity of 4500 cubic meters.

The smaller sphere, at 120 meters, contains no water but houses a revolving observatory with a cafe.

2- The second tower, not accessible to the public, supports a spherical tank with a water capacity of 4500 cubic meters.

3- The Third structure holds no water but serves to complete the composition. It is a concrete needle equipped with floodlights that illuminate the other two towers.” akdn

Images Above: Courtesy of  akdn

Design Concept

There is no clear evidence for the main concept behind the design. We made the illustration below as an attempt to find the inspiration of the design-  pearl weaving using needle.

“The Kuwait Tower design was chosen by H.H. the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed (May his soul rest in peace) among three other designs submitted for the bay site. Clad in colorfully enameled steel plates, the spheres’ treatment was inspired by mosaic-surfaced Islamic domes.”  akdn

Patterns

The main materials used for Kuwait tower are concrete, glass and steel round plates. Patterns can be created either by a structural method or for an aesthetic reason. Therefore, Kuwait Towers has both types of patterns as shown in the image below. Due to the complexity of the spherical shape, triangulated glass system was applied on the panoramic sphere to allow for transparency and view.

The solid spheres- pearl like spheres- have a concrete finish and covered with round concave metal plates. This kind of cladding gave a depth to the design in the way of applying a different material with different characteristics than the concrete shaft. The final outcome made an icon of three  simple concrete shafts carrying three complex spheres.

Construction Images

Images of the construction phase for the towers during the 70′s

The above three images are found on the internet without any reference

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Images by Photographers

Here are very interesting images taken by creative talents from unique perspectives

Image Above: Copyright © Hani A. AlHamoud flickr account

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Image Above: Copyright © Rashed Al-Foudari flickr account

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Image Above: Copyright © Turki Al-Fassam flickr account

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Image Above: Copyright © Turki Al-Fassam flickr account

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Image Above: Copyright © Sarah Al-Sayegh flickr account

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Image Above: Copyright © Nawaf Ahmed flickr account

Copyrights

-All materials above are copy righted to the website www.archofkuwait.com unless mentioned to their owners.

-Section & Elevation images were traced from a document provided by akdn; Aga Khan Award for Architecture

-The photographs at the end by courtesy of their owners with a link to each account in flickr.

-Feel free to share a link to this page without copying the materials to another blog or website!


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9 Responses to Kuwait Towers/أبراج الكويت

  1. Arch.Aziz.Kw says:

    Thank you for this article, I think it is one of the best articles so far that explained everything about the Kuwait Towers. And the information in it are really helpful.

    There is a point that triggered my curiousity. You mentioned there were 3 alternative designs and the president Jaber Al-Sabah ( Allah have murcy on his soul) choosed one of them. So, is there a way we can find the other two alternatives of the Kuwait Tower? I would like to help in it if you don’t have, I just need the information that I need for it, like the companies’ name and I am willing to contact them.

    Thank you AOK and keep it up!

    • archofkuwait says:

      Thank you Arch.Aziz.Kw for your complement!
      It would be a really interesting subject to discover. Please let us know if you find any other submitted entry for the Towers. Maybe asking someone in the Ministry of Electricity and Water- or Ministry of Public Works will help in that. We will be contacting you regarding this subject.

  2. Not Joseph says:

    I always wondered about something in Kuwait towers since I was a kid. and I never had the answer, not even in this article..

    I always wondered how the tips of Kuwaiti tower look like! Are they sharpped, cut, or baveled?

    Seriously! not kidding!

    • archofkuwait says:

      That is a good question (Not Joseph), concrete as known is a very good material to carry weights, yet very tough to create sharp and thin shapes, it might break with tension. Therefor another material was used to achieve the sharpness and to give an equal finish for the three towers as you mentioned. The tips are cladded with a metallic material- an overlapping of steal sheets.

  3. Katuaka says:

    Very good summary, can I suggest contributing this to the wikipedia page on Kuwait Towers which is very poor in content.

  4. Al-Mutawa says:

    Hey, good illustrator work, but about the concept, am not sure your totally right. the Designer Says that she was inspired by space shuttles and Islamic domes and marinates. I have an article where she states this. And to me that makes total sense since the very shape of the towers are so alien and bazzar, it gives you the feeling that its going to fly at any moment, just like some historic Islamic minarets .

  5. MK says:

    I agree, thats what i read too, moreover pearls are white/grayish not blue! secondly is the color of the spheres being inspired by the color of mosques and those colors are native to the northern part of the arabian region not the Middle east particularly which was hard for me to accept as a concept.

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