Sustainability in Energy and Buildings: Research Advances ISSN 2054-3743

Publisher Future Technology Press
Vol. 2 Mediterranean Green Energy Forum 2013 - Short Papers
Article TitleDesign Philosophy of the traditional Kuwaiti house
Primary AuthorMohammad Alhazim, Cardiff Metropolitan University
Other Author(s) John Littlewood; Keireine Canavan; Paul Carey
Pages 23 - 30
Article ID mgf13s-015
Publication Date 01-Nov-13
AbstractArchitecture represents the art of planning, designing, building and decorating. Also it reflects the identity, culture and social realities of whole civilizations, captures and converses with the environment of its inception be it the natural climatic environment or the values, norms and belief systems. The study of a given architecture, therefore, implies extensive knowledge about the society, its system of reference and its climate to properly identify and interpret the manifestations of all these factors in the art of building. The study of the traditional Kuwaiti architecture, which is the focus of this paper, requires an understanding of both the natural and social environment of Kuwait. The traditional Kuwaiti house was conceived in a time when traditions and rules drawn from Islamic precepts had the upper hand. It was also built in a natural environment characterized by extreme temperatures, the people who built them were simple people, with very little wealth, but very resourceful. All these factors produced a vernacular architecture that is highly compatible with various aspects of its environment. However, after the discovery of oil in the Gulf region in 1930, and the financial enrichment of the country, people started to opt for more modern styles of building for their houses. Such new houses proved very unbefitting to neither the Kuwaiti climatic environment nor the Islam-informed social climate. This paper introduces research which is part of a doctorate research project conducted by the lead author at Cardiff Metropolitan University. The paper discusses the traditional Kuwaiti architecture and highlights the positive attributes it enjoys and which should be preserved and optimized rather than supplanted by the introduction of new 21st Century architectural designs, thus contributing to the preservation of the ecology of the region and the world at large and accommodating the needs of Muslim desert dwellers such as the people of Kuwait in terms of comfortable and culturally aware habitat.
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