| Kuwait | Feb 23, 2016
More often than not, the pace of construction of infrastructure and construction projects in Kuwait is directly related to the speed of government procedures and approvals. It is no secret […]
More often than not, the pace of construction of infrastructure and construction projects in Kuwait is directly related to the speed of government procedures and approvals. It is no secret or surprise that projects commissioned by HH the Amir and his cabinet, the Amiri Diwan, on behalf of the government, are expedited and reach completion faster than others in Kuwait. At unprecedented speed by Kuwaiti standards, the Amiri Diwan Cultural Centers are being built across Kuwait, breeding anticipation and curiosity about these new icons of the country’s cultural district.
SSH Design, the longest-running architectural engineering firm in Kuwait and third out of the top 10 architectural firms in the Middle East, has designed and is monitoring the construction of Kuwait’s national cultural district.
Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center
At a cost of about $976 million, the construction of the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Cultural Center is a megaproject currently underway on Kuwait’s Gulf coast. The cultural center will contain nine theaters and eight indoor amphitheaters and one outdoor amphitheater, the largest of which will be able to seat up to 2,000 people. The theaters will be a combination of concert, conference, and exhibition halls, and will also include a national library to house historical documents.
Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center
Coupled with the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center, this facility will form the main part of Kuwait’s new museum district in which six primary buildings will be the outstanding highlight. A natural history museum will feature wildlife and biodiversity, Arabian wildlife, artifacts from prehistory, and environmental exhibits. A science museum will also showcase an experimental atrium, and house sections on technology and transport, health and medicine, as well as the human body and mind. There will be a museum of Islamic history and a space museum that will feature astronomy exhibits, among others. Finally, a fine arts center and theater will play host to premier shows, world-class acts, displays, and events, and these are set to become hubs for art and culture for locals and visitors alike. Traditional Kuwaiti architectural elements along with contemporary and modern designs will lend a distinctly local atmosphere to the area.
Al Salam Palace
Situated beside the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre, the final piece of Kuwait’s new cultural landscape is the Al Salam Palace. First constructed in the 1960s to house visiting heads of state and foreign dignitaries, the Al Salam Palace is being restored and refurbished, in a modernization effort that is breathing life into the district again. Plans for the palace include a visitor center, a museum, and a palace garden. The museum section will focus on the 15 rulers of Kuwait who have led the country since its foundation, and these exhibits will be displayed in galleries and the nine palace rooms of the complex.
The aim of the new cultural district is to attract not only local visitors and tourists from abroad, but also world-leading musicians, performers, academics, and business leaders to the country. Coinciding with the nation’s designation as the Capital of Islamic Culture of 2016 by the Arab Organization for Education, Culture, and Science (ALECSO), the inauguration of the cultural district is expected to be heavily marketed and promoted over the coming year, and will firmly establish Kuwait as a center of culture in the wider Gulf region. 6