AGI architects Wafra Wind Tower new types of urban residences in Kuwait

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The Wafra wind tower is a residential project carried out in Salmiya, a district of Kuwait City, by the international studio AGI architectsfounded and led by architects Joaquín Pérez-Goicoechea and Nasser B. Abulhasan. The building is constructed on a two-storey basement which houses the common areas of all the residences, including the gymnasium and the swimming pool. The latter, built at the upper level of the basement, extends towards the interior of the tower and plays an important role in passive cooling and natural ventilation of the rooms. On the 13 floors of the vertical structure are the 12 duplex apartments and, crowning the building, a penthouse with gardens and roof terraces The architects were inspired by the courtyard house style typical of the Middle East, revisiting it and building it vertically. The project also draws on in-depth knowledge of local environmental building techniques, as its name suggests, the Wafra wind tower recalls the concept ofwind towers. The building is crossed over its entire height by a vertical central courtyard and has openings at different heights on opposite facades. Using convective movements also triggered by the presence of the swimming pool and the natural evaporation of water, the air enters through the base of the building and escapes towards the upper part, facilitating the natural ventilation of the residential units arranged on the different levels. The image of a wind-sculpted monolith is reinforced by the stone cladding of the exterior facades, contrasted by the white plaster surfaces of the central courtyard.

Always to take advantage of the climatic conditions of the place, the architects placed the vertical connections, stairs and elevators, on the south side of the tower in order to create an additional thermal barrier to solar radiation and further insulate the accommodation. The openings on the other facades, particularly on the north side facing the sea, have been designed to provide natural lighting, cross ventilation and panoramic views of the accommodation. In addition, each apartment has shaded balconies overlooking the central inner courtyard.

(Agnes Bifulco)

Images courtesy of Aga Khan Trust for Culture and AGI Architects

Project name: Wafra Wind Tower
Type: Housing 6,500 m²
Location: Salmiya, Kuwait
Date: 2014-2017
Client: Wafra Real Estate Co.
The AGi architects team
Principal architects: Nasser B. Abulhasan, Joaquín Pérez-Goicoechea
Project managers: Stefania Rendinelli, Lulu Alawadhi
Project team: Georg Thesing, Juan Carlos Jimenez, Cristina Ruiz, Alfredo Carrato, Ehsan Abdulrasoul Rahimi, Ibrahim Abu Fayyad
Engineers: Arturo Macusi, Joseph Thomas

Photography: © AGi architects (02, 11-21), © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / ph Cemal Emden (01, 03-10)

Price:
– Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2022 – Shortlisted
– Identity Design Awards 2018 – Winner in the “Residential Exterior” category
– Cityscape Awards for Emerging Markets 2018 – Finalist in 2 categories: Sustainability and Residential-Medium to High Rise Project Award (built)
– WAF (World Architecture Festival) 2018 – Finalist – “Larger Scale Housing – Completed Buildings”
– Middle East Architect Awards 2017 – Sustainable Project of the Year
– WAN Awards 2017 – Shortlisted in the Social Housing category
– A’Design Awards 2012 – Silver A’Design Award “Architecture, Building and Structural Design Category – Residential Complex”
– International Property Awards (IPA) 2011 – Highly recommended at the Arabian Residential Property Awards “High Rise Architecture”


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