Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, Kuwait

Project: Composite canopy
Location: Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, Kuwait City   
Client: Amiri Diwan
Architect: SSH
Engineering Consultant: SSH
Main Contractor: Al Ghanim International
Handover: 2016

At the heart of Kuwait’s new national cultural district, The Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre is a world class museum zone – a celebration of diverse scientific and cultural achievement – in buildings designed to inspire wonder and awe. Architects SSH reflected traditional Kuwaiti forms in the main ‘street’ which echoes the traditional Ferej to create exciting spaces, Islamic patterns, corners and walkways – set beneath a brilliant and playful composite canopy.

To cover the vast space below, BFG produced 3300 individual decorative shingles, each 2.5 metres square, from advanced FRP composite. These fire retardant structural sandwich panels were manufactured using the Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process, enabling a double-sided finish, which was an aesthetic and functional requirement of the brief.

The shingles are arranged to form an awe-inspiring canopy that runs the length of the district’s central spine, providing shade from the intense desert sun and creating elegant curved forms overhead. Designed to accommodate LED lighting, the canopy comes alive at night, helping ensure that the new Cultural Centre becomes an instant icon in its own right.