Docomomo Kuwait
Workshop & Lecture Series: RE Kuwait´s Modern Heritage
DATE: 5/12/2015
Workshop & Lecture Series: RE Kuwait´s Modern Heritage
5 - 9 December 2015, Bayt Al Bader, Kuwait City, Kuwait

"Collaborators: NCCAL, docomomo International, docomomo Kuwait, PAD10
Unit Tutors: Zara Ferreira, Naji Moujaes
Guest Speakers: Hubert-Jan Henket, Caecilia Pieri, Kareem Ibrahiem, Zara Ferreira, Naji Moujaes 

Workshop Brief:
This workshop focuses on the legacy of Wilson and Mason architects, the heritage value of their work, and their contribution towards a local identity not only in Kuwait, but other oil producing nations in the Middle East.
With a specific focus on the Former Bank of the Middle East building as a case study, we will launch an investigation on scenarios to reprogram the building and interpret its heritage value, applying heritage reuse and design strategies that focus on enhancing the link to the urban fabric and propose possible investment concepts that could achieve a profitable city for people. The social and economic exchange context of the building is considered to be one of the most vital areas of Kuwait´s capital city and a rare case of a sustained market community and zoning program that endured the sudden eruption of the urban evolution in the old city.

"The British Bank of the Middle East (1941-1971) is historically linked to the establishment of economical institutions in  Kuwait. The Bank was established in Kuwait during World War II when British policies faced many circumstances in the area. In that year, the Kilani revolution broke out in Iraq and in Iran, that were developments on the nationalization of petroleum movement. These circumstances affected the decision of economic branching in  the oil producing countries in the Middle East. In 1971, term of the concession awarded to the British Bank in the Middle East expired and the bank was ultimately owned by the Kuwaiti goverment and Kuwaiti citizens, meanwhile, the name of the bank changed to Bank of Kuwait and Middle East (BKME)."
BBME was the first bank to operate in Kuwait, and the only one until 1952 when the National Bank of Kuwait was inaugurated announcing the financial independence of Kuwait. Since it was built for a use that is no longer valid today, one of the most efficient ways of conserving a building is by introducing solutions that re-contextualize the buildin spatially and culturally, and analyzing the narratives surrounding the building to examine the possible reasons that lead to the current status of the building and other modern heritage properties. The obstacles hindering the work required to enlist modern era monuments on the National Historical Buildings Record could be tackled within the framework of the workshop by designing hypothetical policies for managing privately owned heritage properties, yet action to protect heritage on a state level is not the only available tool.

The right to the city and the right to participate in determining the historical urban heritage of a nation, determining the meaning of heritage properties and their emotional and historical value is also a responsibility of the civic sphere, such battles will not be won without community engagement in bringing back the symbolic charge of their places.

The end result of this workshop will be realized as an intervention in a Newspaper spread that raises public awareness on the value of modern heritage and the need to acively engage in protecting the social and urban memory of Kuwait.
The workshop will be paralleled with a heritage lectures marathon that run every night and will be open to public.

To register send an email to docomomo.kw@gmail.com"