The Fahad Al Salem palace is one of the few historical residential complexes located in the heart of Kuwait City, just a few meters off the seashore. In 2018, the government approved to turn over the property to the Ministry of Health who planned to demolish the complex and transform it into a car park extension for the Amiri Hospital. As a good example of the Kuwait heritage conservation, the NCCAL (Kuwait National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters) exercised the power and right over the property and began full restoration of the building two years ago.
With more than 500 apartments, the 60-acre residential compound was demolished in 2019 upon the request of the Ministry of Finance. Built in 1981, Al Sawaber was a relatively recent construction but originally built as a model of collective living, taking part in shaping the modernisation of Kuwaiti architecture while incorporating ancestral techniques like allowing intimacy and protection for the harsh summer sun and sand storms. Despite local communities teaming up to try and save the complex by expressing their support and raising interest via social media about urban heritage, 70% of the tenants were quickly evacuated and relocated soon after their efforts. The lack of maintenance and the increase of the land values finally led to the demolition even though the government has never expressed any clear vision for the future of the area. The complex has now completely disappeared and left an enormous empty space in the heart of Kuwait City.
French version available here. The photographs, shortlisted in 2020 for the French photo prize "Prix Levallois", were submitted as diptychs. See more on the photo prize dedicated webpage
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