Architecture, Kuwait, Museum, Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Complex, Ssh

New museum complex designed by SSH is inaugurated in Kuwait

A new museum complex, the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Complex (ASCC), designed by SSH, has been inaugurated in Kuwait.

The building is the newest addition to what is to become a cultural district within country’s capital, Kuwait City, alongside the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre, also designed by SSH.

The complex is made up six main buildings that includes a National History Museum; Science Museum; Museum of Islamic History; Space Museum; Fine Arts Centre; as well as a theatre. Each building will house an array of permanent and temporary exhibitions and artworks.

“The Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre is a fitting and spectacular addition to Kuwait’s cultural heritage, and sets out to embrace the rich diversity of the world’s finest achievements,” said George Abi-Hanna, managing director of SSH Kuwait.

The buildings within the complex are connected by a central ‘street’ which winds around the complex, referencing a traditional ‘ferej’ (neighbourhood) found in Kuwait and the wider region. The meandering walkways mirror the experience of walking down a typical, busy Kuwait street.

The ‘street’- which serves as the central-spine of the complex- links the “wide-span flexible” buildings from the city entrance from the south of the site towards the sea in the north-east.

The buildings and the circulation between them are shaded and partially climatically controlled by a 200m long solar shade canopy, with cantilevers of 30m.

Consisting of an inverted structure, this allows the installation of 2,000 LED-lit shingles, which is parametrically designed linked by a DMX controller to provide evening light shows, in addition to daytime shade.

The orientation of the shingles creates a downdraft to lower the ambient temperature by 10 degrees, while providing shading space between the buildings

The shingles range from 3 sqm to 9 sqm in area and each comprises a single piece of fibre-glass, which reflects ambient temperature, and creates light effects to celebrate national holidays and events.

Additionally, the shingles are able to create a live light show that reacts to sound and climatic variation through environmental conditions, while being independently, yet collectively controlled.

The exterior cladding of the building and the roof paving is made using marble from Turkey called Skyline, which features “a defined vein orientation in the quarry strata”.

“Skyline has all the technical and aesthetic characteristics to fulfill the strict requirements of the scheme,” the architects said of the material.

The opening date of the museum has not yet been announced.

Look out for the full feature on the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Complex in the next month’s issue of Middle East Architect and on

You can also read about the seven cultural buildings that made their mark on the Middle East in 2017.