Foster and Partners have recently completed the construction of the new headquarters of the National Bank of Kuwait in Kuwait City. The bank headquarters is constructed on one of the prominent sites in Kuwait City and has a total height of 300 meters. It sets out as the tallest skyscraper in the magnificent skyline. The headquarters are based in Shaq, the city’s fast-growing financial district. The construction of the building is quite explicit and designed to bring all the employees together, under one roof. The aim was to promote synergy and enhance the well-being of all the employees. The design has sustainable features, and the structure is also quite innovative as it includes passive strategies such as a climate-responsive form that shields the offices from the extreme temperatures of Kuwait.

National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters in Kuwait City completed by Foster + Partners - Sheet1
A glimpse of National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters in Kuwait City adorning the skyline_©

Insights of the building | National Bank of Kuwait

Stefan Behling, the head of Foster + Partners, said in an interview that the concept behind the construction of this building was to incorporate various innovative environmental strategies and hence come up with a diverse program regarding the functionality of the structure and its aesthetics as well. The inputs were taken and put into plans, which were executed, and hence, the outcome came out to be fantastic. The bank sets a distinctive landmark in the entire Kuwaiti skyline. The building is sustainable, functional and has an iconic design. The building has all the features, which can make you feel its importance and its own identity in the city.

Architectural details by Foster + Partners

National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters in Kuwait City completed by Foster + Partners - Sheet2
Tapered floors at the base level_©

Foster + Partners designed the headquarters in unique ways. The North elevation of the building consists of a curved façade, which gives a beautiful visual experience to users. One can see the breathtaking panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf. There are a series of concrete fins arranged in a particular fashion along with the sun path direction. These fins are full length. These are good for structural support and also provide mutual shading. Hence, the environmental strategy is also applied here. The building is designed in a way that the floorplates are tapered towards the base.

National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters in Kuwait City completed by Foster + Partners - Sheet3
Meeting and greeting spaces_©, National Bank of Kuwait

Foster + Partners came up with a strategy to maximize the floor spaces at the upper levels and use the floorplates themselves as self-shading devices for the floors beneath. The overhangs of each floorplate could function as shading devices. There are many other passive and active measures taken to reduce water consumption. There is minimal use of energy and the indoor air quality is improved. The unique shape of the building creates wider floor plates at the top. The wider the floor plates are, the more the expansive views of the city can be seen to a greater number of people. There are sixty-three floors provided with sky lobbies which are particularly designed for the social focus of the workers. There are meeting facilities for the staff. 

National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters in Kuwait City completed by Foster + Partners - Sheet4
Curved skylight_©

At the base of the tower, there is an 18 m high lobby which is basically to conduct greetings and meetings between the employees and the visitors. On the 18th level, there is a double-height restaurant which caters to the needs of employees as well as visitors. On the 19th level, there is a state-of-the-art gym and a unique ballroom. There is a triple-height bedroom on level 48. At the apex of the tower, there are various communal areas with a chairman’s club. There is a curved skylight which also provides views of the sky and the coastline.

Circulation details as per Foster + Partners’ team | National Bank of Kuwait

Blown glass pendant lights in board room_©

In one of the interviews, Nikolai, Senior Partner, said that the firm Foster + Partners gave a lot of thought while designing the form of the tower. The building form was required to fulfil the needs of the bank and also initiate an efficient internal spatial arrangement. The design was supposed to meet the organizational requirements while keeping the flexibility for future change and growth. There are customized working environments designed according to the category of the staff and their demands. All the staff have their own unique space. Foster + Partners devised a unique strategy, known as the twin lift strategy to minimize the sizes of the service cores and circulation area. In this way, the net usable floorplate area is also increased.  The interior spaces and the furniture are also designed keeping in mind the type of the building. There is a specific type of lighting for the key spaces within the tower. The boardroom displays a distinctive set of lighting such as the blown glass pendant lights. These lights and the circulation spaces are designed by the practice’s industrial design team. The boardroom is covered by a cloud-like cluster. Hence, the National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters is setting a mark of unique design comprising both passive strategies along with modern touch.

References: National Bank of Kuwait

A young architect, and a keen learner who would love to experiment with the intricacy of architecture as per changing environment and the functioning of the society, keeping in mind the sustainability factor and history of the respective place or building.