Student 'wadi'

Client: Sabah al-Salem University City
Location: Shuwaikh, Kuwait City, Kuwait
Size: 430,000sf
Program: Day Care/Pre-K, Primary School, Secondary (High) School, For Each: Administrative offices, Classrooms, Active Rooftop Learning Environments, Auditorium, Dining, Structured Parking (below grade)
Cost: $97,000,000
Status: In construction - completion 2016
LEED: Tracking Gold certification
Awards: World Architecture News (WAN), 2012; SARA NYC Chapter, 2012; Perkins+Will Biennale, 2012; World Architecture Festival, 2001
Exhibits: NYC Center for Architecture, 2012
Link to web content: WAN

Key Roles: R. Anthony Fieldman, former Principal and lead project designer, Perkins+Will

Perkins+Will, Lead Design Architect; Dar al Handasah, Architect of Record

Images: Unless otherwise noted, copyright owned by Perkins+Will Architects, PC - used by permission



The 21st Century School understands that learning extends beyond class-based instruction and includes a robust program of direct hands-on engagement. To that end, we have intensively programmed the outdoor spaces at the Kuwait University Teaching School, both at grade and atop the school’s 350,000sf of landscaped roofs. Used by both students and teachers, these external learning environments include laboratories, gardens, observatories, and play spaces teach children to be good stewards of the land in ways that cannot be duplicated in conventional educational settings. 

Desertification is a human factor that has played out over thousands of years. The Fertile Crescent, of which Kuwait is a part, can be recaptured there through intensive and advanced agriculture practices. It all begins with education. In order to thrive, the outdoor environments at Kuwait University’s K-12 Teaching School employ advanced environmental strategies - like nanoclays, TSE-fed irrigation and shelterbelts - to create a self-sustaining and robust landscape that further enhances learning by teaching children of the desert how to literally grow flowers.

The school, whose planning approximates the self-shading wadis to the south, is defined by a series of child-scaled pavilions separated by pocket gardens that have been carved out of - and framed by - monolithic, cast-in-place concrete trombe walls that capture and retard the infiltration of heat and release it through targeted venting at night. 

Outdoor learning gardens: programing plan