Rising to a height of 412 meters, the recently completed Al Hamra Tower is now Kuwait's tallest skyscraper. Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the mixed-use office and commercial tower is twisted and sculpted with a monolithic stone wall on the south facade. Views are maximized on the east, north and west sides, while solar heat gain is minimized on the south side. The sweeping facade curls in on itself by 130-degrees to become a completely asymmetrical skyscraper.
The 74 story tower is innovative in its asymmetrical design and is a feat of engineering. The south wall is constructed from concrete and conceived as a protective skin to insulate the building against the hot desert sun and temperatures that can reach up to 55 degrees. Windows on the south facade were specially sized to allow for views out over the city and desert, but to also control the sun’s radiation into the building. Meanwhile, the other three facades are completely glazed and allow for unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape. The two wings fold in on the structure and are connected by a sky bridge on the south side.
Inside, the tower provides 2.1 million gross square feet for offices, a health club, and a high-end shopping mall with theaters and a food court. The north entrance features a soaring 20m tall highly articulated lamella structure inside the lobby, which supports the tower above and articulates the space below. On the south at the base, the skyscraper connects to a 5-story mall. The building’s appearance is meant to look like a an enshrouded figure with a delicate glass veil.
Images ©SOM, Pawel Sulima and Turner Construction Co.