Old Cinemas & Port Authority

According to Modern Architecture Kuwait, the Kuwait National Cinema Company was established in 1954 and in ’55 Al-Sharqia theater was opened as the first cinema in Kuwait. The cinescape in 360 mall has some information on the history of movie watching in Kuwait. The 1954 Film House “celebrates the luxurious golden age of cinema.” According to the article Acquiring Modernity, Acquiring Meaning, “since 2003, Kuwait has been experiencing another building boom that has resulted in a renewed process of mass demolition, as occurred during the post-1950 construction craze. This time, it is the early oil landscape itself that is being demolished to make way for something newer still. The iconic Al-Hamra and Firdous Cinemas in Kuwait City were among Kuwait’s first modern movie theaters built in the 1950s–one showing American and European films and the other Arabic and Hindi movies. These cinemas represented Kuwaitis’ earliest encounters not only with modern entertainment, but also with international popular culture. Both cinemas were recently knocked down to make way for the new Al-Hamra skyscraper and mall, taking with them our memories of the cultural excitement of that time.”

Al-Andalus cinema opened in Hawally in 1960. Today the site is occupied by Al-Muhallab mall. The old photos come from 248.

Al-Hamra cinema, designed by Egyptian architect Sayyed Karim, opened in 1958. Today the site is occupied by Al Hamra tower (above). The old photos come from this flickr.

The Ahmadi cinema opened in 1966, the building still stands today (although the drive-in has been demolished). The black and white photo comes from this tumblr, the color photo from twitter.

The poster above is from Raw Eco is entitled “Kuwait’s Forgotten Modernity” and features fifteen different buildings built between the 50s and 90s including the Holy Family Cathedral, the Liberation Tower, the Ministry of Information, the Port Authority Headquarters, the Cinema Al Ahmadi, the Hilton Hotel Apartments, Souq Al Manakh and Al Kabeer, the Gulf Bank, the Kuwait Towers, the Water Towers, the Hassawi Complex, the Fatima Mosque, the Kuwait University Engineering School, and the National Assembly. The Port Authority, located in Shuwaikh, was built between 1984 and 1992. Nearby is the abandoned Kuwait Shipping Company Headquarters, built between 1969 and 1973.

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