Architecture Exhibitions International

AA – Architectural Association School of Architecture London

Kuwait City
Houssam I. Flayhan

Feb 1–Jul 31, 2018
Kuwait City - Houssam I. Flayhan

Having undergone an era of modernization that saw a city fabric of labyrinthine pathways supplanted with avenues and office buildings, the city-state had generated a legacy of imported modernism over the ruins of its historic earthen homes. This tabula rasa had become the guiding principle of the nation's urban planning efforts as the mentality of the constant purge continues to this day. Architectural iconoclasm, which traces its origins to the reverence of the contemporary, seems to have embedded itself as religious edict among the city’s developers and municipal authorities alike.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
A fast disappearing vertical stratigraphy, emblematic of a city that constantly seeks to rid itself of any semblance of the past, is an evident theme of the photographs Houssam displays. The juxtaposition of buildings in the foreground and background, ones of past and present, play out a scene of a city in flux. The variant textures layered in elevation bring about conversations that had occurred previously in plan as the photographs document the inevitable transformation of building type in preference for one that attempts to play catch-up with a perceived image of a ‘global city’.