Ever since the early 1960s, and following the discovery of oil, there has been a revolution in the culture of Kuwait
which has disturbed the concept of the built environment. The decision- making became dominated by people from
other countries that did not recognise the heritage and symbolic way of life of Kuwaiti people or regarded these
backward and unworthy of respect. In architectural terms, centuries of inherited building patterns that adapted to and
celebrated the environment were replaced by buildings constructed for display and not to meet the functional
requirements of the natural and social setting.
Concern for this situation is shared by the author and many other architects in Kuwait, who seek to build a living
environment in a way that embodies the indigenous knowledge. The intention is therefore to explore the resources of
the past and collate these into a discourse to inspire those responsible in shaping the built environment to express this
culture and way of life.
The main aim is to preserve what little evidence remains of the past as a document. Very few old buildings are still
standing and all urban spaces have been lost. The author has therefore needed to refer to other sources of information.
The first part of the thesis builds up a body of knowledge from literature sources, the author's childhood recollections
and from lengthy discussions with elderly people once involved in building and crafts and using their own dialect