National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters

Kuwait City, Kuwait

Situated in one of the most hostile inhabited climates on Earth, the new National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters will be a statement tall building for the city that demonstrates the very best application of cutting-edge design in a harsh environment.


Our client, the National Bank of Kuwait, conceived this headquarters to serve as an exemplar of passive design in the desert. Because of this, Buro Happold was faced with the challenge of ensuring the 300 metre tall, fully glazed tower achieved a LEED Gold rating in temperatures that can rise to 45°C.

The National Bank of Kuwait headquarters is set to become an exemplar of the possibilities of sustainable design in desert conditions. Image: Foster + Partners


Our engineers used great ingenuity to meet this brief. The tower features a superstructure of giant shading fins that cover the glass facade, protecting the building from the midday Kuwaiti sun while also providing vital structural support.

We developed a number of sophisticated analysis models to test our strategies to make sure they complied with the tight performance criteria required on this project. Our physics team used their extensive skills in parametric modelling to virtually build the tower and its fins, enabling our engineers to analyse different design scenarios. This allowed us to virtually adjust, move, redirect and even remove fins to find the perfect position for the most energy saving results.

In addition, regulations in Kuwait as the time of design stipulated that all services for a tall building should be located on the ground floor. Our team was able to successfully use the expertise gained on similar projects in the past to convince the regulatory body of the benefits of incorporating services on several levels within the tower. This added further value to the design and saved money for our client.

Realising a striking, 300 metres tall, fully glazed tower capable of meeting LEED Gold criteria in one of the most hostile climates on Earth. Image: Foster + Partners


The architecturally striking and highly energy efficient National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters will become a key element in the city skyline, and set a new standard for high quality, sustainable design in Kuwait.

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