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Tue 2 Oct 2007 12:00 AM

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Atkins to put Kuwaiti architecture on the map

Two projects seek approval from Kuwait City municipality.

Atkins Middle East, the architecture and design firm, is set to have a major hand in defining the skyline of Kuwait City.

"Kuwait is essentially a blank canvas, which we hope to fill with signature buildings that reflect the ambitious aspirations of this successful economy," said Tim Askew, managing director of Atkins Middle East.

Atkins has been involved in some of Kuwait's government-sponsored transportation and residential developments since 1977, but it has only recently gained its commercial registration. Apart from the futuristic needle-nosed Kuwait Towers in Kuwait City, architecturally speaking, the landscape of Kuwait is a barren expanse that is crying out for something, and some firm, to define it.

"This is a very exciting time-we have been in Kuwait for a long time with infrastructure jobs, and this presents an exciting opportunity to further influence the urban landscape," explained Askew.

Stringent building restrictions and exorbitant land prices are two reasons why Atkins counts itself as the only international firm with a ‘front-door office' in the country.

Atkins has designed four buildings for private Kuwaiti clients, one of which includes the 30-storey, 82,305m² Salmiya Hotel. Shaped like the head of a King Cobra poised to strike, the Salmiya Hotel-whose design was commissioned by Al-Fawareez-will be home to a 5-star hotel, an office park and commercial space. ‘The Cobra' is planned for the city of Salmiya, which is located near the Sultan Center and Laila Gallery, 12km southeast of Kuwait City. It is one of two Atkins designs currently seeking approval from the Kuwait City municipality.

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