Kuwait: Visit to the Arab Fund Building

January 28, 2011by Brenda Pierce

Below is a report from our client Dr. Kiracofe who is traveling around the Arabian Peninsula before joining our group in Riyadh next month. He has sent us this entry about his visit in Kuwait. More to come about his visits in Oman. Thank you Dr. Kiracofe for sharing this!

It is 7:36 your time, 3:36 pm here. I leave for the airport at around 7:30 pm. Just came in from spending the day at the Arab Fund Building. It is the most fabulous building in the middle east, and one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen. I showed up unannounced and asked to be permitted to see the interior, which I was told is very beautiful, an understatement if ever there was one…

I was told to take a seat in the spectacular lobby, filled with remarkable antiques from all around the Islamic world. 20 minutes later security showed me to the first floor to a huge atrium with a very elegant cafeteria to one side where i was shown to a table and invited to take coffee and little cookies. There a highly educated gentleman engaged me in conversation about Islamic culture, and we talked for half an hour or more about pattern formation and the meanings behind the patterns… Then he suggested we take a walk around, and for the next 4 1/2 hours he showed me all through the building, built for the Arab Fund, like the World Bank of the Islamic world, with office space, meeting rooms, dining rooms, sitting rooms, auditorium, one more beautiful than the next.

Islamic traditions applied to modern architecture with the most lush use of exotic materials and exquisite workmanship in all types of material, stone, marble, ceramic mosaic, brass, copper, leather, glass, wood, wool for carpets and tapestries… simply amazing… the finest artisans from all over the Islamic world, perhaps mostly Egypt and north Africa, but also Syria and Turkey… and the facility is available to the public for meetings, conferences, events, also to the diplomatic corps, universities, private companies, anyone may apply to use the spaces and they are equipped with every possible modern amenity for presentation and broadcast… extremely well done. The man who showed me through the building is the director of maintenance, he was the electrical engineer responsible for supervision of the electrical and mechanical systems during construction and has remained with the building since it opened, more than 10 years ago, but it looks like a new building. Everything is spotless and in perfect condition…. as i left he gave me a book about the building… gorgeous photography… worth coming to Kuwait just to see this building!

anyone coming to Kuwait with any serious interest in cultural things should come to this building. The man to contact is Ziyad Reja M. Khalil, zraja@arabfund.org They welcome people with a serious interest and are happy to show the building and encourage photography. I am very glad I went to see it!

More from Oman tomorrow…

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