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The Red Dot, Kuwait City by TAEP/AAP

Project name:
The Red Dot
Architecture firm:
Sharq, Al Hamra Tower, Kuwait
Fernando Guerra | FG+SG, João Morgado
Principal architect:
Design team:
Abdulatif Almishari, Rui Vargas, Elvino Domingos, Bruna Silva, Emanuel Grave, Lionel Estriga Diogo Monteiro, Duarte Correia, Iria Arriaga, João Costa, Mariana Neves, Matteo Missaglia, Nádia Luís
Aquilino Sotero, Diogo Monteiro, Luísa Calvo, Lionel Estriga, Mariana Neves, Federica Fortugno, Raquel Martins
Interior design:
Built area:
307 m²
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
R5 Engineers
Environmental & MEP:
Bruno Simão, Mohammed Hassan, Rúben Rodrigues
Susana Pinheiro, Iria Arriaga
Light Design Portugal
ASBUILT; Bruno Rosa, Carlos Magalhães, Luís Baptista, Rúben Rodrigues, Vando Beldade
Tools used:
Mixed-Use › Canopy

TAEP/AAP: At the base of SOM’s award-winning Al Hamra Tower in the Central Business District of Kuwait City, this project reconfigures the existing exterior public spaces into a unified urban space that defines vehicular and pedestrian access, reutilizes and adapts large existing landscape elements, and creates several landmark elements to supplement the site’s already unique identity. This exterior landscape, which stretches from north to south along the west side of the complex, connects the Office Tower Entrance and two Shopping Mall Entrances, and is wedged between the perimeter of the building and the profile of the road.

At its core, this project is a reflection upon the limits of spatial differentiation using a single material, granite. By employing variations in tone, color, texture, and format, ranging from polished triangular tiles to cobblestone pavers, rough slabs, and sets. It delineates and defines pedestrian and vehicular access patterns across, through, and into the site. This material exploration extends to solving the topographical difference between the building entrances and the sidewalk, ranging from the typical pedestrian stair and vehicular ramp configurations to a hybrid ramp/stair.

Hamra, red in Arabic, is what defines several of the most prominent elements in this intervention, most notably the West Valet Canopy and the South Alcove Bench. In terms of color, as well as in material, these stylized elements serve to mark out the two main entrances to the Indoor Shopping Mall, welcoming in visitors whether on foot or by car. Of special note are the utilization of Lamella-style engineered form work for the casting of the canopy as well as the use of polystyrene to lighten its heft. Working in conjunction with this 3-dimensional material study, the strategic placement of ornamental and indigenous trees and plants, individually and in planters, functions not only to soften and enliven the site but also as a visual screening, solar shading, and micro-climate generating elements.


The most striking element of the intervention is most certainly the West Valet Canopy. Defining the Primary Entrance to the Shopping Center inside, this landmark, for all its aesthetic qualities, presented an impressive set of technical problems that needed to be resolved.

An extensive underground structural steel foundation was installed and the Lamella Grid CNC milled MDF form-work covered in wood strips forming a ruled surface was constructed. The form-work inside the two columns were further smoothed out by the application of thin metal strips to prevent form-work pattern transfer.

Extensive steel reinforcing was installed and the columns and the bottom surface of the canopy were cast at the same time. The edge of the canopy, which includes part of the drainage, was also cast at this time. To prevent excessive weight, it was determined that the space between the bottom surface and the top surface would be filled with polystyrene before the final reinforcing was applied. This reinforcing incorporated several guide profiles that allowed the top slab to be cast without form work, being shaped using special ruler guides, first by hand them by machine.

To impart the desired final look, the concrete canopy was regularized and several coats of its iconic Hamra Red were applied, presenting itself as a the most recent monolithic landmark on the streets of Kuwait.

By Alfredo Gonzalez

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