Architecture and the Expression of Cultural Identity in Kuwait, by Yasser Mahgoub, 2007

Mahgoub, Yasser. “Architecture and the Expression of Cultural Identity in Kuwait” The Journal of Architecture 12, no. 2 (2007): 165-182.

DOI: 10.1080/13602360701363486


The phenomenon of expressing cultural identity in architecture is apparent in many parts of the world: this paper examines it in the context of Kuwait. It focuses on architects, and the strategies they use in expressing cultural identity. The aim is to understand their views and current efforts in this context. In Kuwait, architecture has passed through dramatic transformations during the second half of the twentieth century that were the result of economic, regional and global changes. A survey of the views of eighteen Kuwaiti architects was conducted using focused interviews and a standardised questionnaire. Examples of their projects were analysed to illustrate their views and ways of thinking. The study concluded that there were several strategies employed by Kuwaiti architects to express a Kuwaiti cultural identity in their work. A three- dimensional matrix was developed to illustrate the relationship between the ranges of these strategies and architecture in Kuwait. It is hoped that this matrix will be useful for practitioners and critics of contemporary architecture in Kuwait interested in understanding current trends in achieving a cultural identity in architecture.

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