Cultural sustainability, Kuwait architecture, Vernacular architecture in the GCC, Wael Al-Masri

Wael Al-Masri’s 1985 project is an early example of cultural sustainability in the GCC

Built in 1985, Jordanian architect Wael Al-Masri’s first project Al Mabarrah in Kuwait serves as an early example of cultural sustainability among architecture in the GCC, which is now a heated conversation in the regional industry.

Images courtesy Wael Al-Masri

Designed during the architect’s time with KEO, Al Mabarrah includes a headquarters, celebration hall and a students centre. The project is also an historical emblem — following the Iraq-Kuwait War, it was used as the headquarters for the country’s committee for prisoners and missing persons.

Spanning 17,000m2, Al Mabarrah’s built up area is 4,000m2. Its architectural forms are informed by local vernacular architecture, with sand-coloured brick the main material. The geometry of the buildings is also reflected in the layout of the project — the position of structures and lines are a repeated experience.

A favoured architect for UAE developer Shurooq, Al-Masri has recently revealed plans for Sharjah’s Kalba Waterfront development.