Built along the man-made canals of Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City Marina, a planned community in southern Kuwait comprising 200 kilometres of artificial shoreline, Areia is a series of five residences that unassumingly stand out against the arid landscape in their cubist morphology of white uniformity. Designed by Kuwait-based architects Associated Architects Partnership (AAP) in volumetric uniformity, each house is nevertheless unique in its complexity despite abiding to the same planning principles. What’s more, the architectural design embodies a contemporary sensibility of high modernism while accommodating the Kuwaiti way of life.
The five, two-storey houses share a common architectural language of clean, rectilinear geometry and balanced proportions as well as a minimalist aesthetic amounting to a harmonious ensemble which was explicitly designed in juxtaposition with the anarchic urban development of the growing community around it. Seen from the street, the villas appear quite similar, each one featuring an entrance courtyard bounded on three sides by cubic volumes, while on the back, the canal-facing facades are allowed greater variations both in geometry and texture.
Apart from the volumetric uniformity, the residences also share the same programmatic organization that is informed by both the Kuwaiti lifestyle and the local climate. At the ground floor, the main living areas are pushed to the back of the building to face the canal. Designed around patios, gardens and pools, the spaces flow into one another allowing great flexibility in their use and blurring the distinction between interior and exterior, enhanced by the floor-to-ceiling glazing.
Whereas this fluid, extroverted living area enjoys sweeping views of the surrounding landscape, the street-facing spaces at the front of the residences are reserved for the diwanyia, a social gathering space for guests that traditionally in Kuwaiti culture requires a more contained, formal environment.
The private quarters are located on the upper floor where the use of parapets and cantilevered wall sections ensures for the occupants’ privacy while allowing for protected views of the canal. Cleverly, these elements have also been designed to provide shade to the ground floor terraces below, with some of them featuring decorative perforations that allude to the mashrabiya, the traditional Islamic window latticework that protects against the harsh Middle Eastern sun.
The minimalist sensibility of the building exterior is reflected in the design of the interiors, conceived in collaboration with Portuguese interior designer Leonor Feyo. Featuring a neutral palette of white plaster and cream marble, they are complemented by the use of concealed lighting and discreet recessed spotlights as well as a sparse selection of sleek furniture in white, grey or natural timber.
Taking advantage of the 360-degree panoramic views on offer, the architects have designed the rooftop areas as leisure spaces where the occupants can lounge enjoying the sun setting over the dusty desert on the horizon.