The Kuwaiti practice AGi architects has developed this single family 2600-square-meters ‘Secret House’ which, for the purposes of privacy, is partially submerged in a dense fog. Located in Kuwait’s Shuwaikh district, the multi-storey minimalist structure has been completed in 2010 and encompasses ‘guided routes, hidden areas, exposed areas that are all expressed through the architecture, rather than signage’.
From the architects:
‘Kuwait’s urban fabric mostly consists of detached single-family homes highlighting a clear example of city-sprawl. To adapt to the desert climate, the distances between the built volumes are minimal, resulting in shaded spaces between houses. These spaces that work well as temperature regulators result in facades with little privacy and limited views. This creates an added challenge to create projects with personality that are not based purely on an exercise in façade design. ‘
‘This house was a very peculiar request. Typically the client has a specific program and an actual site, and our job is to make the two complement one another. In the case of the Secret House, the client was occupying the given site in a house that neither met their aesthetic desires, nor their programmatic needs. This design thus becomes a personal expression of their present conditions, and at the same time creates a space capable of holding their hopes for the future. ‘
‘The search for an understanding of the nature of an Islamic family culture living with a Western lifestyle has shaped the overlap of concepts and is reflected in the relevance of the major pieces in the facade, privacy and sun protection. ‘
‘In this case we had only one street-facing facade, and only from there could one look onto the horizon without being seen. We have placed more public activities on the ground floor, where as you enter, you find a guest living area that is away from the other rooms. On the other side, after a circulation buffer, you find access to a family living area that connects the backyard with the central garden.
On the upper floor, rooms are positioned according to privacy and importance, alternating with areas for daily family use. From this level, a staircase runs through the courtyard and leads up to a more private space with a large covered terrace that opens out on the main façade. This allows you to enjoy both the city skyline and the sea view at the horizon in a private, shaded and lush landscaped area.’