Keeping up with the everchanging and constantly replaced list of the world’s tallest buildings, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill just completed the Al Hamra Firdous Tower, a quarter-mile-high sculptural commercial complex rising like a giant spike above the Kuwait City skyline. Al Hamra may be the tallest building in the country, but supertalls are a dime a dozen these days, and the record for tallest building in the world belongs to downtown Dubai's Burj Khalifa, another SOM skyscraper. Instead, what distinguishes Al Hamra is its asymmetrical exterior — it’s the only skyscraper on earth that has one. The tower's sweeping, torqued wings resemble the long robes of the Kuwaitis living in the city below. Though simple in appearance, it was no easy architectural feat: eschewing traditional steel as their building material, SOM went with concrete, the malleable properties of which better lent themselves to the unusual shape. But that meant pumping 500,000 tons of concrete vertically, as well as enough limestone to tile the entirety of New York's Central Park.
SOM in the Press
SOM Skyscraper Opens its Robe