a discussion went on about architecture in Kuwait during the 60s between me and Muhannad al-baqshi an architect preparing his phD on architectural history and theory at IIT Chicago, and we thought of making it public, please join in:
Mu: how r u!?
me: i'm fine, i am working now on the text for the exhibition that's all
Mu: fill me in thats important and exciting :)
me: yeah at first i thought the intro to the exhibition should explain more about the buildings of the 60s historically but i thought i should preserve this to the next stage of the study i thought it should start a bit more theoretical as the photographs are real with more of a supposed understanding on the construction influence.
Mu: so its a photo exhibit ....
me: it is, but i better describe it as an observation phase
Mu: what photos...
me: 60s buildings facades in their recent condition
Mu: emmmmmmmmm me liky .. i want some for my next chapter :) write in the eyes of a kuwaiti who lived that time as a teenager..
me: yeaaah, i knowwww, i think it is abdullah ilotaibi, the poet..
Mu: a kuwait once said " going to the usa in 60s was not much of a culture shock Cuz kuwait was as advanced and modern "
me: bas the story is, i started backwards so i am observing with a foreigner's eyes the facades and start to understand their general influences o try to understand repetition in pattern and familiarity of place, and deterioration effect on the screens of the facades, and try to extract their new relations that they made out of time
Mu: yeah that sounds too theoretical for architecture :)
me: yeah i am sorry when i generalize it and sum it up it comes out this way.. but it is really really architectural, it is just needs a long time to explain that's why i am making the study on phases..
Mu: ok ... those building aside from their nostalgic meaning .. they were not of value architecturally .. don't you think so?
me: i understand your point, that's why i focused on their facades not on their spacial values. because their facades patterns produced lots of spacial understandings within their scale
Mu: but they represented something bigger than their own singular merit, they were social production of space .. thats what i believe ..
me: because of their problem in not being copied right as a form of modern architecture, it deteriorated as an image, not as a space ;p
Mu: i luv ur ideas though .. when where!!?
it will be on 1st and 2nd of december
the first day in durwazat abdulrazzaq pedestrian subway and the 2nd day at safat square, near fahad ilsalem st
Mu: super coooooool
me: :) now, for the next phase i will trace the old contractors i may find some who are still alive...hopefully. i wanna understand their context.
Mu: i got to c who designed them .. when in archive and u do have those drawings as well right !!?
me: yeah i have them, not all of them though, i think these informations will be more possible for the next phase i think for now i can provide more of a different eye to the buildings
Mu: well ... best of luck
me: a different critic than the classic not a good architectural example
Mu: i always trust u will do well
me: thanks :)
Mu: dont make the building sound sexy, cuz that would invite copies and we dont want copies of bad buildings.
me: lol, well but it really an eye of realization than an eye of beauty
Mu: yeah .. i believe that
me: i'm glad that i talked to you coz i am just starting to write, and i've been through all the preparations for the exhibition-stands, permissions, printing- and i am a bit mentally exhausted to form the writing structure
Mu: send me ur draft .. if u need some review :)
me: now i'll have a better move, ee walla i guess i will do that coz sometimes i seem like i talk in a foreign language
Mu: my next chapter is the buildings of 1960s صدفة
Mu: :) its true
me: 9idfa in 1960s happen later, at first the buildings were more of سرعة
so facades construction were copies of images.. that's why i called them screens.
Mu: yeah .. how so?!?
me: like some buildings of frank lloyd wright, he made the ornamented bricks constructed as bricks while our buildings' textile bricks were constructed as skins stuck on the facades like shelves our bricks are not really structural bricks........i should put that to be politically correct....i feel i'm not explaining well..
Mu: aint that common of the construction of the time all over the world
me: at least at that time, in other parts of the world they were not constructing those fantasized images, ya3ni images of utopia
Mu: well .. i believe it was common in Mediterranean countries
me: yeah for sure, but that's the issue, the way arabic architects understood western architecture..
Mu: really .. kuwait wanted utopia!? i think they wanted the modern.
me: kuwait didn't want a particular architecture, it only want the new
Mu: for example .. drinking was common cuz it is modern as it were and the new = modernism
me: yeah, bas i didn't mean utopia as in the megastructure type
Mu: i know
if it utopic
me: i meant utopia as in an aspiration to a lifestyle that wasn't there
Mu: that would have had different image i believe
u mean a hetro-topia
cuz utopia mean ideal life
me: yes i think it is so
Mu: i dont think kuwaitis had a vision of an ideal life .. but they know exactly what they want .. and thats modernity
me: i cannot predict a lot of what kuwaitis wanted back then until i do my homework and ask enough people
Mu: all u see are signs of modernity which is so remote from the medieval existence of old kuwait
me: ee bas ilmushkila inna it was all done away from the common choice, and the buildings are not made by kuwaitis
that's why i cannot say that this is what kuwait wanted, kuwait just agreed, but not actually made.
Mu: read on utopian visions of british socialism and german nazi .. and their architecture.
me: kuwaitis did not do any conjunction from what they were to what they become unless with clothes.. :)