Built in 1981, Al Sawaber Complex was designed by renowned Canadian architect and urban planner Arthur Erickson with the idea of creating a community for Kuwaiti families of modest means. He accomplished that with a layout that provided easy horizontal circulation between the apartment blocks, while also creating intimate spaces sheltered from the rest of the city.
The complex is recognised as a modern heritage building of cultural and historical significance by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature. But, because of a complete lack of maintenance, arson in some of the units, escalating land values in the surrounding area, and gentrification, the project has now been marked for demolition.
The demolition date is unknown but a contractor has been chosen so demolition can begin any day now.
A team comprising of members from Kuwait Municipality Master Plan and Planning Departments, Kuwait University School of Architecture professors, and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature are trying to save the project. They’re hoping to raise public awareness as a last resort to save Al-Sawaber Complex from imminent demolition.
Rather than being demolished the team is proposing that the complex be rehabilitated and regenerated as a mixed-use urban development while maintaining elements of the original character and structure.
Top photo by Asseel Al-Ragam