PAD10 Architects’ finalist entry interlaces the two new buildings of Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), its new headquarters (HQ) and Convention Center (CC) along Kuwait’s most prominent coastal stretch. With KFAS’s already existing Scientific Center, its promenade, and a newly proposed elevated pedestrian bridge, a ‘Science Mile’ connects all to wind its way down into the new public plaza shaded by CC’s cantilevered overhang.
KFAS HQ; an L-shaped building rises gradually from 3-storey to 8-storey building; its lowest is close to Pearl Marzouq (PM), an architectural beacon of Kuwait’s modern era, and highest along the seaside views to claim them. The building blends with the adjacent landscape by allowing in the green meadow to its northern side, adding seamlessly an approximate green area of 4,000sqm. With almost 90m additional depth of green area and 44m width in the project area, the building sets back from PM, maximizing its offices best sea-views with minimal direct sun along these sides, without blocking its neighbors’. The building feathers out to create terraces for planters and trellises on the west side, alongside a continuous ramp system (a vertical promenade) and shading overhangs on the east side the seafront, to shade the outdoor seating and promenade extension. The drop-off area is at its SW corner, facing the main road. The carved out vaulted liwan, further shaped by 3 cutout vaults, each of which leads to a distinct area, namely: the main building lobby, the wing of conference and meeting facilities, and the roof garden connected to the promenade’s landscape.
KFAS CC; a slanted green roof to the west side rises to be seen by all, elevating the landscape of the new promenade, and opens its east side to programs having the best seaside views. All programs are tucked towards the seaside with such configuration. The streetside is directly accessed by the raised extended promenade and by car drop-off access. The seaside lower level, with the shaded plaza in front of the building, stepping into the sea, gives access to an open space with the library, restaurant, and exhibition programs which can spill and activate the new ending of the KFAS promenade.
PAD10 was voted 5th by an international jury out of 110 entries from 25 countries in a 2-stage international design competition; it was the only office that qualified thus far in the MENA region. The procedure maintained the competitors’ anonymity. The procedure was organized in agreement with the Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA). This competition was conducted by [phase eins], Berlin-Germany, on behalf of KFAS.