Innovation – at the scale of architecture – is about far more than aesthetics. It is about performance. It is about the productivity and wellbeing of the people who inhabit our buildings. It is about the buildings themselves, with respect to the energy they use or generate. And it is about technology which, when used correctly, enhances the human experience and enables both people and buildings to perform at their best – as an integrated and holistic ecosystem.
Its shape, materiality, and orientation are directly influenced by the position of the sun, the wind, and the views. It is further informed by the highly advanced technological building systems that drive its cooling, its ventilation, and the comfort of those inside it.
There are two buildings on site – the Banking Hall and the Office Tower – that are connected by bridges, a formal landscape, and a technologically advanced parking structure below grade. The Banking Hall’s undulating glass windows face the city, openly inviting people in through its iconic, shaded glass facade. The office tower faces the Gulf, enjoying sweeping views from 100% of the tower’s interior spaces, swelling as it rises, overlooking the bay, resembling in the abstract the open wings of the Kuwaiti Falcon – one of the country’s prized national icons.
The overall shape of the building adapts to its surroundings, increasing in size as it rises towards the sky, maximizing the best views for the maximum number of people where it is more valuable. The loosely V-shaped massing is the result of a strategy to optimize views towards the Gulf and at the same time minimize areas with a difficult southern exposure, without compromising the ability of all occupants to have extraordinary exterior views. The building’s iconic southern spine – intended to be lit up at night and framed in a limestone cladding that protects all difficult southern exposures – is by contrast entirely glass, and contains a photovoltaic array that is shielded from sand, making it easy to maintain. This spine uses the array to generate and transmit electricity, while the shaft itself functions as a solar chimney that naturally ventilates each and every office floor, recapturing the building’s own relief air to reduce on-site energy use.