Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Edges Apartments in Salmiya, Kuwait by Studio Toggle
April 15th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Studio Toggle
The ‘Edges Apartments’; with its articulated brick cladded façade; lights up one of the back-streets of the predominantly expat neighborhood of Salmiya, in Kuwait.
A simple rhythmic twist, achieved by transposition of the vertices on either side of a finite axis imparts dynamism and drama to the façade. Avery restrained palette of locally sourced natural brick and exposed concrete finish further emphasizes the massing and gives the building its unique personality.
The idea for the façade was conceived as a solution to the constraints that included severely restricted budget and low tech construction techniques. The angular façade functions as an effective wind breaker, mitigating the constant strong wind blowing from the sea as well as affording a certain amount of privacy to each apartment. Aesthetically the façade represents a break from the generic curtain walled apartment blocks that is the norm in the region, choosing to play with the massing and shadows rather than a collage of materials.
The challenge for the Architects was to give the building an instantly recognizable identity at the same time respecting an extremely restrictive budget. Functionality and serviceability were also as important. The building had to withstand the unforgiving summer heat of Kuwait made unbearable also by the occasional dust/sand storm.
The ventilated brick cladding with a weatherproof coating acts as an effective thermal protection as well as being hardy enough, along with the exposed concrete finishes, to withstand the harsh desert climate. The major windows are recessed to block out the direct sun and Aluminum louvers are employed wherever possible to reduce the heat gain and the glare.
A vertical strip of aluminum louvres splits the building’s frontage into two halves, denoting the divide between homes on the north and south sides of the property. The louvres protect the central staircase from direct sunlight, but also restrict views into this glass-lined circulation space.
On the ground floor, an exposed lobby adjacent to the parking area provides access to the staircase, lifts and a communal gym, which faces the street and is partially shielded behind aluminum louvres.The lobby’s glass-reinforced concrete ceiling incorporates recessed lighting in an angular channel that directs residents and visitors towards the various entrances and continues the sharp lines of the facade.
These small but calculated steps along with the rhythmic façade makes the Edges Apartments stand out amongst the rows of expat housing in the area.
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