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Foster + Partners completes National Bank of Kuwait headquarters wrapped in concrete fins
Kuwait Architecture News - Jul 08, 2022 - 15:43 1560 views
The 300-metre skyscraper has a distinctive presence among the buildings of Sharq, the city's growing financial district. The building is distinguished with its rounded form and a series of vertical concrete fins on the southern façade - which extends the full height of the tower.
While the fins provide structural support, they also contribute to the environmental strategy through shading.
Foster + Partners designed a new building to bring all of the bank's corporate employees together under one roof, promoting synergy and enhancing wellbeing.
The 2,800-capacity skyscraper has 63 floors and draws a cylindrical form that open up itself like "a shell" to the north to avoid solar gain.
According to the studio, the design "combines sustainable features and structural innovation, providing an energy efficient passive form, shielding the offices from the extremes of Kuwait's climate."
"The new headquarters for the National Bank of Kuwait represents the coming together of an innovative environmental strategy and a diverse programme as a distinctive landmark that stands out on the Kuwaiti skyline," said Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners.
"The building incorporates a sustainable, functional, and iconic design that signifies NBK s unique presence and identity in the city," Behling added.
The design of the ribs takes cues from the form of a dhow sailing boat - which is a reference to the city’s roots in international trade - and this helps to evoke a sense of place, as the firm explained.
On the north side, the curved façade provides the panoramic views towards the Arabian Gulf, while a series of concrete fins along the sun path extend the full height of the tower - to both provide a structural support and contribute to the environmental strategy through shading.
"By tapering the floorplates inwards towards the base, the design maximises floor space at the upper levels and provides self-shading as the overhanging floorplates shelter the offices below," said the office.
"Utilising both passive and active measures to reduce water consumption, energy use is minimised and the indoor air quality improved."
The tower has a distinctive shape that creates wider floor plates towards the top, offering expansive views out to a greater number of people.
The tower's sixty-three floors are enhanced by sky lobbies, aiming to provide a social focus and meeting facilities for employees and staff. At the base of the tower, there is an 18-metre-high lobby welcomes employees and visitors.
On the 18th level, there is a double-height restaurant, followed by a state-of-the-art gym at the 19th level. A unique ballroom and auditorium are placed on the 38th floor with panoramic views out to the bay and the rest of the city, and a triple height boardroom is designed on the 48th level.
These communal areas are complemented by the chairman's club in the dramatic, soaring volume at the tower's apex, lit by a distinctive skylight that traces an arc through the space, offering panoramic views of the city and coastline.
"The form we’ve developed for the tower is driven by the needs of the bank and the internal spatial arrangement is tailored to its organisational requirements, whilst providing flexibility for future change and growth," said Nikolai Malsch, Senior Partner, Foster + Partners.
"We have created a customised working environment where everybody has their own unique space," Malsch added.
As the studio explained, "the innovative twin-lift strategy minimises the size of the cores to increase the net usable floorplate area."
The Foster + Partners team has also designed bespoke furniture and lighting for key spaces of the skyscraper. The boardroom features distinctive lighting installations comprising several elegant blown-glass pendent lights – designed by the practice’s industrial design team – which form a cloud-like cluster above a grand 13-metre board table.
Lobby level plan
Ballroom level plan 38
Restaurant level plan 18
Typical office level plan
Boardroom level plan 48
Boardroom level plan 59
Foster + Partners has created flexible workspace for Spanish infrastructure and energy company Acciona in Madrid, Spain, and the firm revealed design for a new tower for JPMorgan Chase in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City.
Project: Headquarters for the National Bank of Kuwait
Architects: Foster + Partners
Location: Kuwait city
Client: National Bank of Kuwait
Structural engineer: Buro Happold
Lighting engineer: Claude Engle
Collaborating architect: SSH International
Landscape architect: Townshend Landscape Architects
All images © Nigel Young / Foster + Partners.
All drawings © Foster + Partners.
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