March 17 - March 19, 2019
LOOKING AT AL SAWABER
What defines Kuwait’s Architectural identity?
As the landscape keeps changing this definition is constantly evolving. It may be easy to recall buildings that answer this question, but harder to visit and experience them first-hand. The majority of buildings considered to be part of Kuwait’s culture and history have been demolished to pave paths for new landmarks shaping the nations new structural scene. By eliminating past structures, an organic growth is ignored, and the timeline of a city’s visual history is erased. The 1950’s underwent a similar situation, where old parts of the city were demolished in the name of modernization.
The most recent building subjected to and currently undergoing demolition is the Al Sawaber Complex. Constructed in the 1980’s, it introduced new concepts of living and was part of a unique vision of Kuwait’s modernization; a time where international architects gathered to implement their ideas. Though different point of views have surrounded Al Sawaber, it has undeniably marked its place as part of the country’s landscape and narrative. Opinions are being voiced and actions are being taken to save or re-purpose this modern heritage; echoing the importance and need of preserving relics from our past.
Save Al Sawaber is an awareness campaign launched by dedicated individuals from diverse professions. Their goal is to raise awareness about the institutionalized demolition of architectural heritage in Kuwait. Although the initial idea is to adopt the rehabilitation of Al Sawaber Complex, the campaign aims to spread architectural culture, as well as promote the preservation of existing historical buildings from the modern era, taking into account the structural originality in the city of Kuwait.
This exhibition displays reactions, memories and interactions from the public revolving around different aspects of Al Sawaber. A platform to voice opinions, share various perspectives and continuing action to preserve buildings that form part of Kuwait’s Modern architectural heritage.