It’s a building that has re-written the record books, and stands as tallest concrete-clad in the world. It is the reality of a dream that began soon after liberation, and one which was endorsed by the late Emir H. H. Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah.
Situated on the historical site of the Gulf region’s first ever movie theatres, Al Hamra Tower is envisioned to be an icon for Kuwait in the 21st century.
Here we recount the story of its development.
The idea of developing Al Hamra and Firdous Cinema sites started many years ago. At the time local building regulations did not permit the construction of mega-projects the like of which we see today.
As Ahmad Al Juhaiem, director of Al Jazera Consulting, whose concept was ultimately the winning proposal, explains “We were approached by the client Ajial Real Estate and Entertainment Company to prepare an Architectural Concept Design for the project. This was presented to the late Emir, His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah in 1992 during a meeting with myself and Waleed Al Nisf where we sought his acceptance and support”.
The late Emir was impressed by the project and through his Minister of State, Nasser Al Rawdan, conveyed the message that he earnestly wished for the project to become a reality.
The project was then presented to the Municipal Council in coordination with Abdul Aziz Al Dakheel, Minister of State at the time. A number of amendments were carried out and the project was re-presented to the Municipal Council, who granted their approval.
In the year 2000, the Ajial announced a Concept Design Competition for a tower of forty floors to be built in conjunction with a shopping mall and a multi-storey car park. Two international firms of consultants took part, along with Kuwait’s Al Jazera Consultants.
The client assigned US-based PM Stanley Consultants to judge the submittals. In October 2001 the three companies; HLW of New York, Langdon Wilson of Los Angeles and Al Jazera of Kuwait, submitted their designs.
A month later Stanley Consultants declared Al Jazera’s as the winning submission.
Subsequently, Al Jazera continued with the design development of the tower, retail podium and multi-storey car park.
Construction commenced on the site in late 2004, and the following year authorities accepted approval for towers up to one-hundred floors in height. Since local consultants did not have experience in designing such extremely tall buildings, the client chose to preserve the commercial podium and multi-storey car park designed by Al-Jazera and hired consultants S.O.M. (with a world-reputation for tall building designs) to re-design the tower, and engaged Turner to manage the project. Al-Jazera provided guidance to S.O.M. by coordinating services and obtaining approvals from local authorities.
Today the Al Hamra project nears final completion and stands as a skyscraper of 80 sculpted floors, with 5 floors of luxury signature shopping mall. It delivers a sophisticated and exciting concept that has inspired investors and designers from across the region.
The project is a contemporary and modern 21st century development that combines the most appropriate technologies and materials available in the construction industry, to create a unique and practical solution, which is dramatic in its boldness during the day and a signature illuminated landmark at night.
Ajial Real Estate and Entertainment Company:
Ajial Real Estate and Entertainment Company is a shareholding company founded in 1996 and was listed in Kuwait Stock Exchange in 1997.
The establishment of Ajial came to develop modern facility centers in the historic locations of some of Kuwait’s earliest built cinemas.
In 2003 Ajial Mall was inaugurated as a ground breaking development in Fahaheel and till this day proves to be one of the most successful projects in that area.
In 2004 Ajial Established Al Hamra Real Estate Company to exclusively manage the upcoming Al Hamra Project.
And in 2005 it secured the second license in Kuwait to run and operate cinema theatres and established Al Hamra Cinema Company to provide wing to wing management and expertise to the entertainment sector.
Ajial as a company is driven by the idea of building a modern kuwait, a place where not only building were constructed but generations (English translation for Ajial) can enjoy and value this company’s contribution.
Al Hamra Project is one of the most anticipated Projects in Kuwait and has a large number of followers, ranging from governmental officials and businessmen to young engineers and aspiring students.
Needless to say it’s an award winning project, MIPIM 2008 Best Tall Building Award and Overall Winning Project, Next to the American Architecture Award 2008.
The construction of the project has reached its final stages and the expected opening date is in the final quarter of 2011.
Al Hamra Project:
One of the tallest towers in the world and indeed by far the tallest sculpted tower, Al Hamra is a class by its own. Visible from miles around and for those in the tower itself providing spectacular views of Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf.
The project is a contemporary 21st century development that combines the most appropriate technologies and materials available in the construction industry. It also creates a unique and practical environment, which is dramatic in its boldness during the day and a signature illuminated landmark at night.
Al Hamra Real Estate Company
• Owner Representative:
Ajial Real Estate and Entertainment
• General Contractor:
• Project Manager:
• Tower design Consultant:
• Local Design Consultant:
First published in Men's Passion issue #31 May 2011