MELIKE ALTINISIK ARCHITECTS + K ARCHITECTS
KFAS HEADQUARTERS & CONVENTION CENTER
Melike Altınışık with Nurbin Paker, Hüseyin Kahvecioğlu
Tan Akıncı, Büşra Güler
Elçin Kara, Melih Altınışık, Hüsna Al, Bahadır Asimov, Muhammed Aydem, Begüm Aydoğdu, Şeyma Özübek, Özge Tunalı, Sümeyye Uçar,Sibel Ürem, Nazlı Aral
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER CONSULTANT
ThorntornTomasetti (NY), Onur Ihtiyar
Ediz Akyalçın, MAA
Buildings designed for KFAS -which plays a catalytic role in advancing and promoting science, technology, and innovation throughout society - are expected to symbolize the important role and mission of the institution. This representative and semantic role to be undertaken by buildings are as important as meeting the functional requirements at the highest level. Considering the universality of science and technology, prioritizing the advanced architectural design solutions for a pioneering institution with a subject of science and innovation gains a special meaning. From design technology to form generation, structural design to the material, buildings designed in this manner must manifest science, technology, and innovation. However, the universality of science and technology should be interpreted in a frame involving the geography, history, and culture of the place. In other words, in designing the future, the bonds with the spirit of the place should never be neglected. In light of this general approach, the main design concept is to create high quality architectural and urban environments with an innovative approach including local, cultural and geographical aspects.
Considering that sunlight, sea, and climate are strong natural elements influencing the main character of the place, fluid and natural forms are preferred in design instead of rigid geometry and orthogonal forms. This form language, beyond the semantic aspect, is a design tool for meeting functional requirements and conditions of spatial comfort. In this frame, blob-shaped buildings were developed not only by the visual composition but also by considering the relevance between the sunlight and the buildings’ surfaces. Features such as color, texture, perforation of folding surfaces create semantic bonds with sunlight, sea, water, nature, and wind; on the other hand, these features are effective tools for providing solar control, natural lighting, and microclimatic effects. Preferred form language, beyond the flexibility of adapting to the requirements of building physics, creates a wide range of possibilities for connection with urban orientation and public spaces with its rich form generation potential stemming from its nature. Thus, the fluid morph of building surface serves for purposes such as involving public space to interior, meeting and organizing pedestrian and vehicle movement, and creating in-between spaces.
The continuity of the coastline is the vital point for a strong relationship with the urban scale. Therefore, the Salima coastal band is intended to be transformed into a high-qualified urban park within the Masterplan area. This park, designed as a “Green Band”, also provides a link between KFAS buildings in D, A, and B focus points. The D-zone which are considered future development area of foundation, the Headquarters, and the Conference and Convention Center integrate this green band and provide public engagement and connection to society, by being located at beginning, center, and end of the spine. Public spaces that will develop on the main spine, penetrate the depths of the master plan zone through the side streets, and support the catalyst role of KFAS buildings for developing the region. C-zone, a node connecting the shoreline to the marine, meets pedestrian axis which is a connection with planned subway system via the future footbridge. This area is also a hub as the beginning of Hamad Al-Mubarak Street, the major vehicle access from the city center to the master plan area.
Considered as the future development area, the D-zone is the closest and most visible to the city center. So, it gains a special importance for the institution’s representation. Thus, while the same architectural language is followed with the Headquarters and Convention Center, a highrise building is preferred in the D-zone to make the building more visible in the city skyline.
As mentioned before, the most important element of the outdoor space is the urban park which is continuing along the coastal area. This green system, that starts with The Scientific Center of Kuwait and planned iconic building in focus area D, integrates with the Headquarters on the midpoint of the route, then connects to the marina and ends with the Conference Center, is also a thematic science park.This route, called Scientific Spine, contains spatial arrangements that enable open-ended use and create a space for scientific and innovative interfaces and installations. The structural elements that are part of the landscape design have a fluid and natural form language in accordance with the general architecture.
The form of the Headquarters was developed in the frame of the relationship with the scientific spine, the relationship with the housing block in the neighboring parcel, and the interaction between the public space and the interior space. The Conference Center is a landmark that meets the public movement on the green/scientific spine at the end of the coastal route. Approaching the building, the ground turns into a ramp and connects the public space to interior spaces. This morphological change also plays roles such as organizing pedestrian-vehicle accesses, serving ground-related function areas, and enhancing the ground. Eye-level openings ambiguate the boundary between interior and outdoor spaces in both buildings.
The user of the public space feels the depth of the buildings. The user of the buildings perceives the outdoor space simultaneously with the interior. This interaction contributes to maintaining an inspiring working environment. The people in public space are directly faced with the scientific, technologic and innovative mission of the institution through the Headquarters which integrates with the park and public spaces. The functions on the ground floors of the buildings provide continuum and interaction between public outdoor spaces and indoor spaces. The restaurants with day and night usability, main entrance halls and atriums as multi-purpose activity areas, and exhibition halls are all examples for these spaces.