sabah al-salem university city
shuwaikh, kuwait city, kuwait
daycare / kindergarten / primary / junior high school / high school
bid & award phase - completion 2016
lead designer / project architect - Perkins+Will
The 21st Century School understands that learning extends beyond class-based instruction and includes a robust program of direct hands-on engagement. To that end, we have intensively programmed the outdoor spaces at the Kuwait University Teaching School, both at grade and atop the school’s 350,000sf of landscaped roofs. Used by both students and teachers, these external learning environments include laboratories, gardens, observatories, and play spaces teach children to be good stewards of the land in ways that cannot be duplicated in conventional educational settings.
Desertification is a human factor that has played out over thousands of years. The Fertile Crescent, of which Kuwait is a part, can be recaptured there through intensive and advanced agriculture practices. It all begins with education. In order to thrive, the outdoor environments at Kuwait University’s K-12 Teaching School employ advanced environmental strategies - like nanoclays, TSE-fed irrigation and shelterbelts - to create a self-sustaining and robust landscape that further enhances learning by teaching children of the desert how to literally grow flowers.
The school, whose planning approximates the self-shading wadis to the south, is defined by a series of child-scaled pavilions separated by pocket gardens that have been carved out of - and framed by - monolithic, cast-in-place concrete trombe walls that capture and retard the infiltration of heat and release it through targeted venting at night.