Chicago, Illinois, United States
A desire to maximize waterfront views while minimizing solar heat gain inspired the building’s asymmetrical form, which calls to mind the traditional bisht robes worn by Kuwaitis. The purity of its form, expressed by a simple operation of removal, makes the tower a timeless, elegant marker in the heart of Kuwait City. A quarter of each floor plate is chiseled out of the south side, shifting from west to east over the height of the building. The result reveals a rich, monolithic stone at the south wall framed by the graceful, twisting “ribbon” walls that gesture toward the sky.
At the base of the mixed-use complex (including offices and an upscale shopping mall), the main, 80-foot lobby on the north side of the tower extends from the tower’s core to its perimeter frame. Columns along the exterior slope inwards, defining the street-level appearance while structurally supporting the rest of the tower. Each floor plate is rotated counterclockwise around the core in order to create an ascending, geometric unraveling. Constructed of Jura limestone, the south-facing core wall stands out from the other three glass-enclosed sides of the tower. The tower’s twisted ribbon walls provide asymmetrical flair, but it’s not just for sake of appearance — the design consciously maximizes views of the Arabian Gulf and minimizes solar heat gain. A restaurant and observation deck sit at the top of the tower in a 130-foot-high space. Visitors are treated to tremendous, unobstructed views of the city thanks to a cantilevered truss system that supports the curtain wall and reduces the amount of columns needed.