According to a report by the World Bank in 2012, there is a global build-up of 1.3 billion tons of solid waste every year. This volume is expected to increase to 2.2 billion tons every year by 2025. Building material accounts for half of the solid waste generated every year worldwide. The rising concern of countries around the world to construct environmentally sustainable developments has led to the creation of various strategies to increase the recycling of construction waste.
UNIT+, Studio Toggle’s contribution to Project Ucon (An initiative by the Ministry of Public Works to encourage responsible handling of construction waste), is constructed from 100% recycled timber obtained as donated construction waste from the upcoming Kuwait International Airport T2 development. The timber, mostly used as form-work for concrete casting, was collected from the T2 construction site and cleaned to remove cement and other debris. It was then cut into uniform pieces to define modular units, developing a language that could eventually grow into multiple configurations and forms. The interlocking modules combine in various axes to create combinations of varying complexities. This facilitated a modular assembly and disassembly which was crucial for its installation in Al-Shaheed Park. The pavilion evolves into a rhythmic composition of the interlocking units generating a porous vaulted space.
The choice of the colour gradient that forms part of the internal ambiance of the vaulted pavilion was deliberate and is a nod to Pantone’s Colour of the Year, ‘Living Coral’. This gradient represents the phenomenon of Coral bleaching, a result of global warming. When water temperatures are too warm, corals will expel the algae living in their tissues causing the corals to turn completely white. There is concern that widespread coral bleaching may cause some species to become extinct locally. The architectural form of the pavilion is a reminiscent of the Islamic architecture of the ‘Muqarnas’.
Studio Toggle was established in 2012 by Architects Hend Almatrouk and Gijo Paul George, both graduates of Universität für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna. The practice focuses on logical design and problem-solving techniques with a specific emphasis on Architecture and Urban Design. We believe in a balance between the opposites, that form follows function, the simplicity is complex, and that even chaos can be organized. Our expertise ranges from public-sector, commercial, residential and hospitality architecture to interior design. Based in Kuwait City, Studio Toggle has designed, supervised and handed over more than 8 projects including private villas, apartment buildings, pavilions and retail interiors, all in the short 5 years of being operational.
The work done by the Studio Toggle has been acclaimed in the region as evidenced by the various awards won by the practice including the Middle East Architect Residential Project of the Year 2016 for its project F.LOT, the prestigious Cityscape Award 2017 for its residential building ‘The Edges’ in Salmiya, Kuwait etc. Studio Toggle’s projects are regularly featured in prestigious architectural magazines like Dezeen, Archdaily, Dwell, Divisare etc. The practice continues to push the boundaries of design sensibilities in the region and beyond. To that effect, Studio Toggle opened its branch in the city of Porto, Portugal in 2015 and continues its explorations in the field of sustainability, digital design, and fabrication.
- Middle East Architect Awards 2017: Young Architect of the Year, Hend Almatrouk
- Middle East Architect Awards 2017: Highly Commended Boutique Firm of the Year, Studio Toggle
- Cityscape Awards 2017: Building of the Year, Low to Midrise residential category, The Edges
- Middle East Architect Awards 2016: Residential Project of the Year, F.LOT
- A’ Design Awards 2016: Silver Price for residential projects. F.LOT
- Aga Khan Awards: Nominated project, The Edges.