Cultural Sustainability and Identity: The Case of Kuwait

By Yasser Mahgoub.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper investigates the relationship between sustainability and the expression of cultural identity in architecture. It argues that the expression of identity in architecture observed in many countries is an attempt to create architecture that sustains and supports the continuity of cultural and social values. An understanding of this phenomenon is required in order to comprehend its impact on the cultural sustainability of the built environment. Architecture in Kuwait has passed through dramatic changes during the second half of the 20th century as a result of rapid planning and development. This paper examines how identity is being expressed in architecture in the context of Kuwait as an attempt to create a more culturally sustainable environment. The aim of this study was to compare the views of the architects and non-architects regarding the relationship between architecture and cultural identity. The research included a survey of the views of practicing architects in Kuwait using standardized questionnaire and focused interviews and another survey was conducted using a more visual standardized questionnaire to understand the views of non-architects. The comparative analysis of data revealed several differences and commonalities between architects and non-architects views. The study is useful for practitioners and critics to understand the current trend towards achieving cultural identity in contemporary architecture and its impact on the cultural sustainability of the built environment in Kuwait and other Gulf countries.

Keywords: Architecture, Culture, Sustainability, Identity, Kuwait

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.137-144. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 742.882KB).

Dr. Yasser Mahgoub

Assistant Professor of Architecture, Deparment of Architecture, College of Engineering and Petroleum, Kuwait University, Kuwait, Kuwait, Kuwait

Received B.Sc. in Architecture from Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt in 1978. Practiced and taught architecture from 1978 to 1984 in Cairo, Egypt. Received Doctorate of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA in 1990. Practiced and taught architecture from 1990 to 1993 in Cairo, Egypt. Assistant professor of architecture at the United Arab Emirates University from 1993 to 1999. Associate professor of architecture at Ain Shams University in 1999. Assistant Professor of Architecture at Kuwait University from 1999 to date. Conducted research and published papers in regional and international journals focusing on architecture in Egypt, UAE and Kuwait. Perceiving architecture as a social and cultural phenomenon allows a comprehensive understanding and interpretation that relates architecture to people and context. See CV for details. Internet homepage address:


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