50 YEARS OF ARCHITECTURE IN KUWAIT

Project Author: WEFT

Type: Exhibition Design & Curation

Services: Design, Curating, Content Creation, Supervision

Organizer: Pace Middle East

Location: Shaheed Park, Kuwait

Year: 2018

Marking the 50th anniversary of Pace, this exhibition designed and curated by creative studio WEFT celebrates architectural and engineering excellence in Kuwait throughout the history of the pioneering practice. The exhibition borrows iconic architectural elements of Kuwait's Pan-Arab Modernism era and goes beyond just their architectural properties to present them as the dramatic sculptural forms we recognise, whilst housing a vast archive offering insights into building and urban design practices employed during the country’s rapid development.

From its beginnings in 1968 until the present day, Pace has worked on over 2,000 projects across 35 countries. With this vast body of work, the practice’s archive serves as key resource for understanding the influence of architecture and engineering in Kuwait and the wider region.

WEFT, the creative studio behind the exhibition design and curatorial narrative, focused on the permanence of Kuwait's iconic architecture by showcasing the architectural elements transformed as contemporary sculptural displays housing half-century worth of Pace’s architectural content (old and new drawings, original photographs, film footage, physical models, illustrations and a range of other documents) within a 1,000m2 space located in a venue of Kuwait City’s largest urban park – Shaheed Park.

The permanence and brutal form of the iconic Kuwait Fund Headquarters building (developed by TAC and Pace in the early 1970s) is introduced as a scaled down sectional pavilion to host original interviews with architects who have left their mark in Kuwait. The interviews provide the backdrop for the central narrative of the exhibition – the story of a city built ‘By People, For People’, paying tribute to the practitioners who helped to shape modern architecture in Kuwait and to build the nation.

The rich tapestry of Pace’s architectural heritage is presented with a display of architectural models abstracting façade details and forms, shown alongside an exhibition of ‘Pan Arab Modernism’, where a fragment of the upcoming architectural publication of the same name is previewed. On an adjacent screen, rare video footage of Kuwait’s built environment can be seen.

Pace’s current work is presented as a show of colourful illustrations by renowned artists reinterpreting some of Kuwait’s most interesting architecture.

Finally, at the heart of the exhibition, is the extraordinary archive of this influential practice, celebrating 50 years of architecture and design excellence in Kuwait. The section is presented as an ongoing collection of projects, displaying Kuwait’s architecture of the past and the present placed together in contrast. The selected photographs, microfilms and drawings are only a small handful of the extensive Pace archive and are presented to create a journey through the changing architectural styles in Kuwait over the last 50 years. Categorised into separate thematic sections, the display shows moments of life in a developing city, whilst focusing in on individual residential, civic, commercial and infrastructure projects. The present, on the other hand, showcases a variety of recent projects, whilst providing a glimpse of the future additions to the skyline of Kuwait currently in design.

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