AGi architects Wafra Wind Tower, new types of urban residences in Kuwait

AGi Architects,

AGi Architects, Cemal Emden,



The Wafra Wind Tower project by AGi architects has been shortlisted for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2022. The 13-storey building has been designed as a wind tower. It is traversed by a vertical central courtyard that provides natural ventilation to all housing units, and represents a reinterpretation of typical Kuwaiti urban residential typologies.

AGi architects Wafra Wind Tower, new types of urban residences in Kuwait

The Wafra Wind Tower is a residential project completed in Salmiya, an area of Kuwait City, by the international studio AGi architects, founded and led by architects Joaquín Pérez-Goicoechea and Nasser B. Abulhasan. The building is constructed on a two-storey basement that houses the common areas for all the residences, including the gymnasium and swimming pool. The latter, built on the upper level of the basement, continues towards the interior of the tower and plays an important role in passive cooling and natural ventilation of the rooms. On the 13 floors of the vertical structure are the 12 duplex apartments and, crowning the building, a penthouse with gardens and roof terraces The architects took their inspiration from the courtyard house style typical of the Middle East, revisiting it and building it vertically. The project is also based on an in-depth knowledge of local environmental construction techniques, as the name itself suggests, the Wafra Wind Tower does, indeed, recall the concept ofwind towers. The building is spanned throughout its height by a vertical central courtyard and has openings at different heights on opposite façades. Making use of convective motions also triggered by the presence of the swimming pool and the natural evaporation of water, air enters from the base of the building and escapes to the upper part, facilitating the natural ventilation of the residential units arranged on the different levels. The image of a monolith sculpted by the wind is enhanced by the stone cladding of the exterior façades, contrasted by the white plastered surfaces of the central courtyard.

Again to take advantage of the climatic conditions of the location, the architects placed the vertical connections, stairs and lifts, on the south side of the tower in order to create an additional thermal barrier to solar radiation and further insulate the residences. The openings on the other façades, particularly on the north side facing the sea, were designed to provide natural lighting, cross ventilation and panoramic views to the residences. In addition, each apartment has shaded balconies overlooking the central inner courtyard.

(Agnese Bifulco)

Images courtesy of Aga Khan Trust for Culture and AGi architects

Project Name: Wafra Wind Tower
Type: Housing 6,500 sqm
Location: Salmiya, Kuwait
Date: 2014-2017
Client: Wafra Real Estate Co.
AGi architects Team
Main Architects: Nasser B. Abulhasan, Joaquín Pérez-Goicoechea
Project Leaders: Stefania Rendinelli, Lulu Alawadhi
Project Team: Georg Thesing, Juan Carlos Jimenez, Cristina Ruiz, Alfredo Carrato, Ehsan Abdulrasoul Rahimi, Ibrahim Abu Fayyad
Engineers: Arturo Macusi, Joseph Thomas

Photography: © AGi architects (02, 11-21), © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / ph Cemal Emden (01, 03-10)

- Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2022 - Shortlisted
- Identity Design Awards 2018 - Winner in the "Residential Exterior" category
- Cityscape Awards for Emerging Markets 2018 - Finalist in 2 categories: Sustainability and Residential-Medium to High Rise Project Award (built)
- WAF (World Architecture Festival) 2018 - Finalist - "Larger Scale housing - Completed Buildings"
- Middle East Architect Awards 2017 – Sustainable Project of the Year
- WAN Awards 2017 - Shortlisted in the Social Housing category
- A'Design Awards 2012 - Silver A'Design Award "Architecture, Building and Structure Design Category - Residential Complex”
- International Property Awards (IPA) 2011 – Highly Commended at Arabian Residential Property Awards "High Rise Architecture"


Stay in touch with the protagonists of architecture, Subscribe to the Floornature Newsletter