Social Acceptability of Earth Construction Technology in Kuwait

Sami Alazemi, Tamer Gado, Graeme Hutton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Dwellings of the first settlers, who migrated to the area known today as Kuwait in the early eighteenth century, were built from earth materials. Adjoining houses expanded over time to create larger neighbourhoods, shaping a sequence of interlocked towns that unfolded a pattern of social harmony within a unique simple and honest architectural order. However, following the discovery of oil in 1938, urban development in Kuwait took a different path. New social hierarchies and perceptions started playing a new role in shaping Kuwait’s urban from. Earth construction became associated with poverty, and reinforced concrete replaced such appropriate building technology that withstood the test of time. Concert technology is now extensively used across the country causing the loss of the inherited architecture identity of Kuwait. The Kuwaiti Government took the responsibility of providing free housing for new families. However, resources are now not sufficient to respond to the rapid growth of the population. At the moment the average waiting time to get a house from the government is between 13 to 17 years. The other alternative is to take out a zero percent loan from the government to support the self build projects. Government loans are usually insufficient to fund the entire project, and hence extra funding from the banks is considered in most cases. This situation is extremely unsustainable. It is believed that earth construction technology could - due to its low cost and ability to deliver thermal comfort passively - help meet the growing housing demand, and also help conserve fossil fuel; the only source of national income. However, common perception of earth construction is preventing from widely reusing the technology inn Kuwait. This paper is concerned with investigating the prospects of reusing earth construction technology in housing sector. It examines the social acceptability of such technology in the Kuwaiti context. Web-based questioner containing both open-ended and close-ended questions was used to collect the views of potential users with regards to the use of earth construction technology. This was followed by a number of semi-structured interviews with a smaller group of users to further investigate their perception of the technology, and the quality of associated interior spaces. The findings of this work will help designers to produce contemporary earth dwellings that meet the socio-economical needs of the Kuwaiti community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Conference on the Constructed Environment
Subtitle of host publicationConference held at the University Centre in Chicago
Place of PublicationChicago
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Arabian Gulf States
  • Earth Construction Technology
  • Kuwait
  • Quality of Interior Spaces
  • Social Perception
  • Social Requirements
  • Social Status

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