Space Wars
Editor’s Note

Asaiel Al Saeed, Aseel AlYaqoub, Saphiya Abu AlMaati, and Yousef Awaad

In architectural discourse surrounding the Arabian Gulf, the hinterland has often served as a given—an unassuming space that serves only to contrast, and in turn highlight, the rapid rise of cities fuelled by oil wealth. English language books and articles often discuss the city as the marker of modernization for Gulf nations, signalling their transformation from primitive to modern, only now recognizable as similar in culture or built form. The hinterland is portrayed, when it is portrayed at all, as space yet to be conquered, yet to be developed. A critical and grounded discussion of what the desert truly is remains glaringly absent. Without this vast space, the cities in question would not exist. As the nation’s functional staging ground, the hinterland provides the support needed to fund, the protection required to sustain, the cultural production that anchors, and the many other elements that contribute to these cities.
This book aims to extract and consolidate the information around the desert from their often siloed and isolated conditions. It brings together various perspectives in conversation to broaden the field and challenge our view of the hinterland as wasteland. The intention is not to present the national landscape of Kuwait as the single instance of the issues raised throughout the publication but rather to accept that Kuwait’s regional positioning has generated historical references through which the hinterland can be read and, at a scale vulnerable to analysis, be scrutinized.
Produced by individuals, firms, and collectives spanning the fields of history, art, architecture, military, and ecology, the work included in this anthology puts forward optimistic projections, dystopian futures, past traumas, and open-ended questions. It moves across scales and time. It is at once tragic and hopeful.
No longer can the hinterland be considered separate from the architect’s purview or the citizen’s conscience. It remains, and always has been, an integral factor in the definition of space.

Contributions and Collaborations by:
Abdullah AlGhunaim, Atlas of Places, Ayesha Kamal Khan, Aiysha Alsane, Bab.nimnim, Dani Ploeger, David Green, Faysal Tabbarah, Formless Finder, Jawad Altabtabai, LCLA Office, Abdulaziz AlJassim, Mohammed Alkouh, Maees Hadi, Nada Al Qallaf, Post Petroleum Society, Reem Alissa, Dana Alhasan, Samia Henni, Sara Alajmi, Sara Al-Ateeqi, Sijal Collective, Studio Toggle, The Open Workshop

Art Direction:
TB.D Studio

ⓒ Aseel AlYaqoub, 2022