My Visit to the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre

Post by Mark


Yesterday I finally got to pass by and check out the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center. Those of you who’ve been following the blog for awhile will remember I was the first to break the story on the cultural centre back in May 2014 after my visit to Al Salam Palace. Yesterday was the first time back since then and damn what a difference two years makes.

Firstly the project is basically done. I mean it was done a couple of months ago but they pushed the launch till Q4 of this year so they’re now using the extra time to make sure everything is close to perfect once it’s finally open. I visited all four of the buildings and I’m now even more excited about the cultural centre than I ever was. The whole project is so beautifully designed with each building having a different style interior than the other. I am not sharing a lot of photos in this post because most of the rooms were getting a final coat of paint so everything was covered in plastic and there was lots of scaffolding everywhere. That includes all the theaters but I already shared some great shots last week so you’re not missing out on anything.


Behind the 4 buildings is a super super long and large corridor that stretches from one corner of the project to the other. One side of the corridor is connected to the indoor parking while the other side connects to the buildings. This means in the summer you can go from your car to the theaters or library without having to walk much under the sun or in the heat. The whole exterior structure is extremely photogenic and I’m very interested to see what photographers will manage to do with the place. Inside the ceilings are very high with lots of large spaces and hallways. I can already visualize large crowds of people gathered waiting to enter a theater or after a show is done, just socializing in these large spaces.

The fact that this project was completed in just two years is insane. I have no idea how they did it, probably by throwing lots of money at it but whatever their formula was, they need to apply it to the new airport. Below are the photos I’m sharing for now, once most of the work is done I’ll pass by again and reshoot. If you have any questions you could ask me and I’ll try to answer it with the best of my knowledge.

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23 comments, add your own...

  1. Sossy says:

    It’s stunning – I can’t wait to see more. I’m sure the small details will make it that much better. Thanks for the peek.

    They should definitely fast track the airport like they did this project and even Al Shaheed Park.

  2. Sam says:

    Just don’t bring it to alkhurafi and it will be done

  3. Lovelykuwait says:

    How about the shows and the performance is it gonna be all year rounds and are they gonna bring international shows and performance like lion kings ??

    Plus did they tell u about the estimated opening date ?

    • Mark says:

      I’ve been told opening is in October. No idea on the kind of shows and performances. There are a lot of different theaters and exhibition spaces so I would believe this would be run like a non-govermental project as in the spaces are rented out. This means if someone wants to bring Lion King to Kuwait he could, he would just rent the theater of his choosing. But this is just my belief and not something I have been told or heard.

  4. aaa says:

    It finishes quick because they basically don’t need to do any of the paperwork anyone else does. This is the speed stuff should be going out.

  5. Ahmad says:

    Main contractor only does fast paced over priced projects with Amiri Diwan, where the owner and end user is also Amiri Diwan.

    In such projects, it’s a matter of PR and very bad management from the government in terms of fiduciary responsibility. Main Contractor get paid large sums of money to spin the wheels which in turn creates a faster paced project but with a lot of kick backs and over priced items.

    But hey, that’s all consumers care about; speed. No one cares that their nation is being bled dry by these kinds of contracts on the regular.

    • qabandi says:

      I agree with most of what you are saying and disagree with some also.

      It’s true that these projects are finished on time mainly because of crazy amounts of money but that doesn’t make it a bad thing or that the contractor is milking it per say.

      The thing with projects is that you either have it schedule or cost driven. It can be a cocktail of the two but essentially the project would lean towards one of the two.

      With Amiri projects – I don’t want to get into the mechanisms by how these projects actually begin and work because that’s a seminar in its self – it is usually the schedule that drives the project. Of course being a Diwan project. You want quality. So that along with speedy engineering, procurement, and construction will bring the price up substantially compared to a project that is mainly buudget oriented like let’s say the new airport or the Clean Fuels Project and Al-Zour Refinery Project.

      And what’s special about the Diwan projects is that they most likely operate using a somewhat cost-plus type of contract that is most likely dressed up in what we like to call a lump sum contract. Government contracts are lump sum contracts 99.99% of the time. Again I don’t want to delve deeper and explain the nitty gritty but feel free look up those terms online; you’ll find an incredible abundance of stuff.

      With the other projects that I have mentioned above; basically the non-Diwan ones, we are looking at mainly Lump-sum contracts that mainly lean towards a budget oriented type project. I know that they have schedules and deadlines for when the projects need to be completed but the governing factor is essentially the budget. We try to stay within the budget. With these type of projects, we have to go through immense amounts of man hours to detail the scope of work and make sure that everything we need all the way down to what type of bolt and paint to use is detailed. Then after all that is said and done. The project goes through multiple committees, and iterations until the necessary approvals are obtained. Once the scope is approved and necessary approvals are obtained and all that is said and done; we are finally allotted the necessary amount of money to spend on the project based on the expected man hours, equipment and overall work detailed in the scope of work. It is extremely tedious. And we have to stick to budgets and schedules on these projects.

      With the Diwan run projects it is somewhat less tedious. The scope might be a lot less detailed. It might essentially be something along the lines of, “we would like a landmark cultural center the would serve so & so number of people and would have so & so number of performance halls that could seat so & so number of people. It needs to be high end and high class that could possibly cater to the needs of VVIP members. Oh and you have 18 months.”

      Of course I am exaggerating the scope here but it is definitely incredibly less detailed than other sector projects in Kuwait. And when the contractor sees that he has 18 months only and a scope so loose per say, he will definitely inflate his prices to make room for the incredible amount of risks that lie ahead of him. Simple things like ground conditions could hinder a project schedule…stuff like that. That is why these projects cost so much.

      Again I can go on and on. But that literally will lead me to hijack Mark’s blog. Feel free to reply to me here if you have any project questions.

    • ahmad says:

      totally agree, but unfortunately we have no other choice , its either this way or nothing .

  6. A Proud Kuwaiti says:

    WOW! This project will definitely be a landmark in the country.

  7. Buzz says:

    Mark, what camera, lens you used for this shoot?

  8. MousePotato says:

    Man you’re the Casey Neistat of Kuwait, except you blog and he vlogs. Stay awesome


  9. MNS says:

    FYI, the design phase for the whole project was only 6 months.

  10. Burhan Khalid says:

    You know one the best things I like about this place, other than it just looks crazy cool from the outside?

    If you are driving down 1st ring road in the afternoon (towards it) as the sun is setting, it almost looks like a mountain range (as there is nothing else behind it, and the sun casts a nice shadow).

  11. ahmad says:

    great job mark as always . i wish you can give us more info regarding the number of theatres that will be there and their seat capacity .

  12. Mohamed says:

    is there a website for this great project, Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center. I searched many times but nothing seems to be there. Also, any confirmed dates of opening?

  13. Grace kristine says:

    Hi sir. Can we visit here anytime? Is it open to the public?
    Ill wait for your reply .thanks😊😊😊

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