Burj Alshaya by Gensler
Burj Alshaya by Gensler

Gensler-designed Burj Alshaya in Kuwait City features mashrabiya screens on facade

International architecture firm Gensler has designed a multi-tower project in Kuwait City inspired by vernacular build techniques popular in Arab countries.

Comprising two towers connected by a podium topped with a roof terrace, Burj Alshaya includes a new headquarters for regional retail giant Alshaya and a Four Seasons hotel. 

Responsible for the architecture -- the interiors of the hotel was designed by Yabu Pushelberg -- Gensler described the towers as influenced by "regional architectural tradition", referring specifically to the use of mashrabiya screens to enclose windows and provide shade and privacy.

The towers feature a three-dimensional lattice that extends across the east and west elevations of the towers and much of the podium. According to the architects, the design is meant to root the towers within their local context, while improving the efficiency of the building's ability to handle Kuwait's climate. 

"The architectural expression takes the concept of traditional mashrabiya shading in local architecture and reinterprets it to create a new focal point for the city's elite social scene," said Gensler principal and global hospitality leader, Tom Lindblom. "Its modulating aluminium facade is both visually appealing and enhances users' privacy during the day."

Lindblom added that the diamond pattern of the screens represents a contemporary interpretation of Islamic geometric patterns -- the perforated metal fins alter in scale across the facades and are positioned to allow for optimal solar protections for the interior spaces. 

The Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya is located in the complex's smaller tower and occupies 22 storeys. Consisting of 284 rooms and suits, two ballrooms, conference suites, food and beverage outlets, a pool and terrace and spa, the hotel's interiors continue the exterior's contemporary interpretation of Middle Eastern design. 

Classic Islamic geometric patterns are referenced throughout the interiors, with inspired design elements including wall surfaces and lighting fixtures.

The office tower connects to the hotel, and spans across 60,000m2 and 42 storeys. An additional 2,000m2 of retail space is available on the basement level.