The Central Bank of Kuwait is a focal point in Kuwait City, close to the Emir’s Palace, the Grand Mosque and departments of government. The site is near the ancient harbor and original settlement of Kuwait, and the building is a prominent national landmark, pictured on Kuwaiti currency.
The bank’s program of spaces is layered and complex. The building reflects this composite nature. Public volumes are gathered in the base, while the auditorium cantilevers above these spaces, enjoying a panoramic view of the coast. Offices of the bank are placed above in the tower. At the apex are the boardroom and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) conference room.
The building has been engineered to withstand one of the most severe climates in the world. Kuwait routinely records temperatures in excess of 50oC and endures harsh desert winds and dust storms, so the project opts for passive strategies. On the most-exposed southeast and southwest façades, horizontal openings are deeply recessed to create shade, eliminate solar gain and reduce glare. Vertical stone fins protect windows from morning and late-afternoon sun. All three elevations use the building’s structure to provide shade, minimize solar gain and reduce glare.