Both towers of the Burj Alshaya Complex in Kuwait City have officially reached completion, featuring façades that recall traditional Arabic screens.
The complex comprises a just-finished office tower, which contains the new headquarters for local retail giant Alshaya, and a Four Seasons hotel, which reached completion in 2017. The two towers are connected by a podium and topped roof terraces.
Gensler was responsible for the architectural design of the Burj Alshaya development, which it described as influenced by regional architectural tradition, specifically the concept of enclosing windows behind a latticework screen called a mashrabiya to provide shade and privacy.
A three-dimensional lattice extends across the east and west elevations of the towers and much of the podium. Its design aims to root the building in its context, while improving efficiency by mitigating the effects of solar radiation and high ambient temperatures.
"[The project’s] modulating aluminum façade is both visually appealing and enhances users' privacy during the day," stated Tom Lindblom, Gensler principal and global hospitality leader.
The perforated metal fins alter in scale across the façades, and are positioned to ensure optimal solar protection for the occupied interior spaces, as well as the roof terraces on top of each tower.
The hotel occupies 22 stories of the smaller tower and has 284 rooms and suites, alongside two ballrooms, conference suites, restaurants, a pool and terrace, and a spa.
The hotel's interiors were designed by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg to complement the exterior's contemporary Arabic expression.
A notable feature of the interior is the spiral stair that forms the centerpiece of the lobby. Alongside this circulation space is the Al Soor lobby lounge – one of the five restaurants housed in the building. The geometric patterning of the mashrabiya is referenced throughout the hotel in the form of carpets, screens and surface treatments, such as the tessellated suspended ceiling above one of the ballrooms.
The recently completed 42-story office tower adjoining the hotel provides around 60,000 square meters of office space for Alshaya, with a further 2,000 square meters of retail space accommodated in the basement level.
The overall design of the development is intended to distinguish it from its surroundings and introduce a significant addition to the evolving city.
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