Awqaf Complex

The Awqaf Complex was built between 1978 and 1982. It takes its name from the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, who financed the project. According to the book Modern Architecture Kuwait, the ministry “was engaged in the mission of providing subsidized housing for nationals. As a solution, a building with a commercial podium was expected to financially sustain the residential part of the complex.” I’ve been told by local friends that during their childhood the mall was always busy, but nowadays it feels sort of empty and frozen in time. Apparently there have been talks to tear Awqaf down, but it also seems there has been talks to renovate it, so we’ll see. As with so many buildings, it was damaged during the invasion and “after liberation, the white travertine exterior was clad in grey aluminum paneling.” In Kuwait’s official publication, Acquiring Modernity (which is a really great read), for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in 2014 Hassan Hayat writes, “aluminum cladding often covered stone and marble to offer metallic ornamental arches. Inadvertently, these gestures evoked the plasticity of the public’s aesthetic identity and its need to shape its civic character.”

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