Space WarsKuwait Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibiton
of la Biennale di Venizia
Images by ReportArch / Andrea Ferro Photography
︎︎︎The Desert Was Beautiful, La Biennale Sneak Peek.
︎︎︎ The Preston H. Thomas Memorial Lecture Series at Cornell Univerity: “Into the Desert: Questions of Coloniality and Toxicity” convened by Samia Henni.
︎︎︎ Kuwait University’s Department of Architecture Lecture Series convened by Dr Dalal Musaed AlSayer and Dialogue X.
︎︎︎ "Space Wars - Announcements - E-Flux".
︎︎︎ "Space Wars At The 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale - Announcements - E-Flux".
︎︎︎ "The Kuwait Pavilion At The 2021 Venice Biennale Investigates The Role Of The Hinterland". Archdaily.
︎︎︎ Kufer, Katrina. 2022. "Kuwait’s Space Wars - Curated Today".
︎︎︎ "Curators Announced For The Kuwait Pavilion With 'Space Wars' At Venice Architecture Biennale 2020".World Architecture Community.
Commissioned by the National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters, the Kuwait pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia responded to the theme, ‘How will we live together?,’ through the discovery, interpretation, and projection of the hinterland.
Oftentimes viewed as a counter to the forms that constitute the metropolitan, the surrounding and seemingly unoccupied landscape serves as the nation’s functional staging ground through resource extraction, agricultural cultivation, military installations and cultural sedimentation. While necessary for the support and production that fund and logistically provide for the city-state, these landscapes remain isolated, both spatially and in discourse.
For Kuwait, the year 2021 marked the 70th anniversary of the first master plan and the 30th anniversary of the Gulf War (also known as the ‘First Space War’). As we absorb the year and the milestone it represents, new development plans are set that inform the expansion beyond the metropolitan – ultimately converging with the hinterland. As the radial city’s imminent growth looms, the status of these spaces remains in question. Their competing functions and ambiguous growth patterns will inevitably lead to ‘space wars’ that compete for survival.
The curators, Asaiel Al Saeed, Aseel AlYaqoub, Saphiya Abu Al-Maati and Yousef Awaad, worked across the boundaries of architecture, art, policy and urbanism, utilising a multi-disciplinary approach that combined contributions from varying practitioners. The goal was to highlight questions surrounding the future of land at the verge of consumption and erasure, potentially risking the total loss of hypothetical histories yet to be written.