Sara Machado: This reconversion of a formal garden by Kuwait Amiri Diwan built in the early 1960’s, to celebrate the city’s modernization, and named as “Shaheed Garden” after Saddam’s Invasion in memory of the war martyrs was officially inaugurated by the Emir of Kuwait following the National and Liberation days celebrations on the 3rd of March 2015 after being completed in December 2014.
The almost 20Ha urban park (800mx2.5km long) comprehends the reconversion of the formal Green Belt Park built between 1961-64 following the demolition of the Kuwait ‘sour’ (3rd Wall built in 1920) as a section of the Kuwait City Green Belt established by the First Master Plan, approved in 1952, and replacing the trajectory of this physical limit of the old city. After concerns raised by the community, the park was reclaimed in 2012 for the introduction of built program that can perform as ground for national celebrations and festivals. The Lead local Consultant TAEP teamed up with the international consultant Ricardo Camacho on the competition-winning redesign. The project included the integration of several buildings in the existing garden and the selection of a native vegetation scheme that could respond to water consumption restrictions, the harsh environmental conditions and urban maintenance practices. The project was developed and implemented in a record time of 22 months. The Park re- design process was determined and strongly affected by the precedent strategic and material value of the 1969-72 never accomplished proposal of Peter and Alison Smithson the “Rampart and Dune Gardens”.
The new park contains two museums, large underground Car Park, Visitor Centre and Administration & Maintenance facilities. Other built elements are the Celebration Gate, formal entrance in the park with all receptions, the conservation of the old city wall gate together with the implementation of a 900 lower amphitheater defining the access through a tunnel to the Memorial Garden setting the frame for a Museum. On the opposite extreme of the park stands the birds nest at the edge of the Habitat Museum. In the middle of the Park a 9000m3 irrigation lake hides a telescopic pole for the national flag raise flanked by the Visitor Centre and the garden management and maintenance facilities.
Considering the complexity of program and the short schedule for design and built, the owner and designer engaged all cultural and environmental entities, non profit and governmental. During the construction and design of the project, the motivation of younger sectors of society became fundamental for the future management and content planning. The Park is today own by a civic organization (Al Diwan Al Amiri) and managed by a non profit organization of young volunteers (LOYAC). The Park program includes, among tours, sport activities and cultural festivals, leadership and professional training as well as children educational activities. After the failed attempt to build a new capital “The Silk City”the expectancies of Kuwait younger generations are now back to the existing town grounded in new values of national identity from social to environmental responsibility. The optimism around this ambitious project prompts ecological strategies and urban principles, with relevant precedents, pursuing the never consolidated green corridor between the capital and the residential neighbourhoods. Shaheed Park, reconversion plan seeks to implement a living system where the pre- existing ecological infrastructure can provide multiple possibilities of using the public space in a desert city evoking the memories of the past and encouraging future urban and environmental behave.
A Design/Build contract for 167.785,00 m2 Park comprising aprox. 56.750 sqm of building area, Habitat Museum, Memorial Museum, Visitor Centre, Administration & Management Offices, Celebration Gate, Old City Gate, Amphitheater with 900 spectator seats and Underground Parking for 900 cars. This reconversion of a formal garden by Kuwait Amiri Diwan built in the early 1960’s, to celebrate the city’s modernization, and named as “Shaheed Garden” after Saddam’s Invasion in memory of the war martyrs, comprehends the reconversion of the formal Green Belt Park built between 1961-64 following the demolition of the Kuwait ‘sour’. The monument to celebrate the “golden jubilee of Kuwait Constitution” designed by Sdarch was the first action towards the reconversion, followed by a broad program of public buildings, including a Habitat Museum, Memorial Museum, Mosque, Car Park, Visitor Centre, a lake and an Aviary.
The landscape proposal uses an existing grid, made of underground services and existing trees, that will distribute all the programmatic events and buildings that will be then converted into mounds due to a consideration of the acoustic studies, cut and fill strategy and the visual impact of the surrounding. At a larger degree this grid will be a medium for climate mitigating: wind, noise, dust and sun. It generates a referential that is able to recognize the existing habitats in Kuwait, with 32% of native vegetation, it’s history, Mecca orientation, as well as providing connections between all proposed elements through three pathways-the Emir path, visitors path and jogging track. The Park is today own by a civic organization (Al Diwan Al Amiri) and managed by a non profit organization of young volunteers (LOYAC).
Landscape Architecture: Sara Machado + Ricardo Camacho and The Associated Engineering Partnership
Project Title: Al Shaheed Park
Street Address: Kuwait City, Soor Street, Opposite Al Tijaria Tower City: Kuwait City
Location: Kuwait City, Kuwait
Total initial budget: 118 million US dollars
Total actual costs: 118 million US dollars
Actual cost (per square metre): total cost 703,33 US dollars, landscape: 250 US dollars
Eng. Haifa Al Muhanna Al Diwan Al Amiri Project Engineer
Eng. Jacob Kurian (Kharafi National Co., KN) Project Construction Manager(Contractor)
Eng. Khaled Al Fouzan ( The Associated Engineering Partnership, TAEP) Lead Consultant
Sara Machado (Stroop | landscape urbanism) and Ricardo Camacho, Lead Designers
Ricardo Camacho and Abdulatif Al-Mishari (as Multitude Agency) Pre-Concept Design for Architecture
Sara Saragoca Head of Interior Design
Flavio Silva, Marcelo Aguiar, Frederico Barosa, Fernando Martins, Nuno Sequeira, Hugo Ferreira, (Senior Landscape Architects and Architects)
Inês Moreira, Graca Vaz, Sarah Behbehani, Rita Tadi,Sarah Behbehani, (Architects and Landscape Architects)
Abdulaziz Al Khandari, Yousef Abdulaal, Miguel Costa Project Communication and Visualization
Eng. Vojislav Mitrovic (Al Farooqi Engineering Consultants Bureau) Head of Structural Design for Visitor Centre Building Eng. Bruno Rocha (R5 Engenharia) Head of Structural Design for Museums,Aviary,Bridge,Celebration G.
Eng. Nashaat Sadek (TAEP) Head of Structural Design for Car Park and Administration Bldg.
Eng. Magdy Mohamed (KN) MEP Design Coordination
Eng. Anas Mustafa Hajeer (KN) Lead Plumbing and Fire Fighting Designer
Eng. Ahmed Sadek, Eng. Mostafa Kamel, Eng. Sameh Ismail Morsy, Eng. Mohamed Hassan (KN) Project Directors (Contractor) Eng. Abdul Mohammed (TAEP), Eng. Khaled Galal, Eng. Hesham Abdelhamid Ibrahim, Eng. Hany Saad (KN) Electrical Design Eng. Mohamad Shhaitly (KN) Lead HVAC Designer
Eng. Pedro Nobre Correia (Geodesenho) Lead Irrigation Designer
Eng. Benjamim Silva, Eng. Mohamed Soliman (ProGolf/KN) Lead Civil Landscape
Eng. Nuno Mateus (Psicometro) Acoustics and Thermal Design
Arch. Jad Cortas (Atelier33) External Lighting Lead Designer
Arch. Zivka Naumova (Alico Projects Department) Lead Facade Designer
Eng. Oliver Hanna (ZinCo GmbH) Green Roof Design
Ze Pedro Font Amado (Wang Design) Identity and Signage
Ali Al-Dousari ( Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research ), Fahed Shuaibi (Amiri Diwan Consultant) Environmental Consultants Eng. Mohamed Salah, Eng. Marwa Marzouk (TAEP) Supervision Resident Engineer
Brook Anderson (Ralph Appelbaum Associates) Lead Exhibition Design and Concept
Valentin Trillo (Acciona Producciones y Diseño) Lead Exhibition Implementation