Kuwait National Assembly
by Jorn Utzon,
2003 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate
Photo by Hans Munk Hansen
Original color sketch by Jorn Utzon
Photo by Carsten Bo Anderson
The invitation to compete for Kuwait National Assembly reached Utzon in 1969 while he was teaching at the University of Hawaii. There were few constraints to the project. The site was along the ocean front, with "haze and white light and an untidy town behind," as Utzon described it.
As a result of his travels, Utzon had developed an affinity for Islamic architecture. The Kuwait National Assembly building contains four spaces: a covered square, a parliamentary chamber, a large conference hall, and a mosque. Each space forms a corner, with waving rooflines creating the effect of moving fabric.
In February of 1991, Iraqi troops, retreating before the international alliance, set fire to the Kuwait National Assembly building. Since then, a 70 million dollar restoration was undertaken. Many of the renovations departed from Utzon's original design.
~Commentary from the Pritzker Prize Committee
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