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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Favourite Buildings Visited – The Al-Salam Complex, Kuwait...


Adjacent to SAM Street (Salem Al-Mubarak Street) in Salmiya stands one of Kuwait's most recognizable landmarks. The Al-Salam Complex, with its undulating cylindrical shape, has become am icon in its own right, which is familiar to most who have spent a bit more time in Kuwait. Owned by Saud Sahoud Al-Mutairi, the building is, as it stands, scheduled for demolition only to be replaced by a shopping mall. This would be a true pity as the area is already severely 'out-malled' as it is. There has to be a more better way to adapt the site than using the, by now, tired old template/ business-plan of building an additional mall along this stretch of road.


The Al-Salam Complex is still standing, for now, but wouldn't it be great if it was allowed to continue fulfilling its role as a city node - a referential landmark that has already been a part of the collective unconscious and connective tissue of a number of Kuwaiti generations? Why not instead find a new use for the Al-Salam Complex? Provide it with a new occupation which would take advantage and build upon its historical and iconic status, a quality which is very difficult to recreate, and allow it to continue to radiate its understated, bur charismatic, presence in the future...


Above and below - photos of the stalactite ceiling and wall reliefs in the lobby...


The interior of the cylinder in its current dilapidated state...

Some of the original tiled walls...

Three seats ready for recycling...

Apparently there is still a sole inhabitant occupying a fifth floor flat in the Al-Salam Complex...

3 comments:

bathmate said...

As always an excellent posting.The
way you write is awesome.Thanks. Adding more information will be more useful.

Bathmate

ghadah alkandari said...

I was thinking about this building today as I drove past its ghost. I wondered if anyone had taken any photos to remember it by. I was looking for your 'fish scale' models and stumbled on this. If the people in power to destroy or keep saw things through your eyes, they would keep. Beautiful pictures, Tom. *sigh*

Mahesh Shantaram said...

When growing up in the 80s, this is what we always knew as "the round building". What it was and what it looked like inside was the stuff of mystery. Thank you for this post. I hear the round building as given way to a mall now under construction, Al-Salam Mall. Oh well..