Secret House by AGi Architects

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Secret House by AGi Architects

Mist cools the courtyard of this house in Kuwait City while also shielding it from prying neighbours (photos: Nelson Garrido).

Secret House by AGi Architects

Named Secret House, the detached residence by Kuwaiti firm AGi Architects is located in the densely developed Shuwaikh district.

Secret House by AGi Architects

The mist operates on a timer, surging up around the house both to keep it cool and to mask it from the street.

Secret House by AGi Architects

Living areas and bedrooms inside the house are distributed across the ground and first floors while a garage occupies the basement.

Secret House by AGi Architects

The body of the house circles the steaming garden while bridges and staircases cross it from the first floor.

Secret House by AGi Architects

A covered terrace on the second floor overlooks the Kuwait City skyline.

Secret House by AGi Architects

Architecture and mist have been popular partners lately on Dezeen - see our earlier story about a mist-releasing water feature by Tadao Ando.

Secret House by AGi Architects

More stories featuring Nelson Garrido's photography on Dezeen »

The following information is provided by the architects:


Secret House

Kuwait’s urban fabric mostly consists of detached single-family homes highlighting a clear example of city-sprawl. To adapt to the desert climate, the distances between the built volumes are minimal, resulting in shaded spaces between houses. These spaces that work well as temperature regulators result in facades with little privacy and limited views. This creates an added challenge to create projects with personality that are not based purely on an exercise in façade design.

Given these circumstances, our focus was to design a home that expresses the clients’ needs, clearly marking the buffers and transitions that any guest could understand. There are guided routes, hidden areas, exposed areas that are all expressed through the architecture, rather than signage. We want the house from the street to be seen as a resounding permeable volume, that is not transparent, however friendly yet private.

Secret House by AGi Architects

Physical barriers can be seen in varying degrees impeding passage or vision to reach the large opening on the upper terrace that allows you to see through the house. From the inside, the barriers become the volumes that open onto the guests, the rooms that dominate the spaces on the upper levels, defining the spaces below them.

The search for an understanding of the nature of an Islamic family culture living with a Western lifestyle has shaped the overlap of concepts and is reflected in the relevance of the major pieces in the facade, privacy and sun protection.

Secret House by AGi Architects

This house was a very peculiar request. Typically the client has a specific program and an actual site, and our job is to make the two complement one another. In the case of the Secret House, the client was occupying the given site in a house that neither met their aesthetic desires, nor their programmatic needs. This design thus becomes a personal expression of their present conditions, and at the same time creates a space capable of holding their hopes for the future.

It is a place with great potential, with wonderful views of the city, and a family who wants privacy. We plan to design a system that would unify these requirements: a house that looks towards the inside and only at the top level opens up to views towards the skyline of the city.

Secret House by AGi Architects

In this case we had only one street-facing facade, and only from there could one look onto the horizon without being seen. We have placed more public activities on the ground floor, where as you enter, you find a guest living area that is away from the other rooms. On the other side, after a circulation buffer, you find access to a family living area that connects the backyard with the central garden.

On the upper floor, rooms are positioned according to privacy and importance, alternating with areas for daily family use. From this level, a staircase runs through the courtyard and leads up to a more private space with a large covered terrace that opens out on the main façade. This allows you to enjoy both the city skyline and the sea view at the horizon in a private, shaded and lush landscaped area.

Type: Housing | 2600 sqm
Location: Shuwaikh B, Kuwait
Date: 2010
Client: Private

  • Seb

    If I were responsible for such a hideous house, I would not only name it secret, but keep it secret too.

  • http://www.deloprojet.com delo

    Save water, someone had mentioned (Kuwait City )

  • Sorbus

    Breathing in water vapour is an excellent way of catching Legionella as well. I hope they have good filtration system…

  • thomas

    And how many thousands of litres of water a year does that waste? Utterly irresponsible for nothing more than minimal aesthetic and environmental effect.

  • plumbat

    Mist? In Kuwait? Are these people serious?

    • Hassan

      Actually, mist in Kuwait, Dubai or any other Gulf city is extraordinary common, especially in summer days when often humidity reaches 100%.

      • Hercule Poirot

        If it's so common, why do they create it here ? Why not a in-house sandstorm ? Or a private tsunami ? And why is this house not made of gold, by the way ? I'm sure they have the money for it. And the good taste.

  • MFR

    stop hating… personally think it's awesome and most def. a first for kuwait. if you can't appreciate the aesthetic, appreciate the effort given what most houses look like here. & btw ^^^ despite public perception, the majority of the kuwaiti population doesn't live in lavish luxury. The distribution of wealth is very much uneven and don't be ridiculous, a gold house would absorb so much heat the inside would be a sauna. i had to scrap the idea for my own home and settled for red brick studded w/ various precious stones. obviously there's the oil well in the backyard.

  • Sburton

    Residents newsletter:
    "Dear Residents, someone broke into the building yesterday and stole a whole bunch of stuff. But we don't know who it was because of all the mist."

  • smart

    it looks like an art museum…

  • apoorv

    it will be refreshing experience to live in such place, but i guess the user only, will get annoyed some times. Is this mist goin to b ther 24×7. i cant imagine.. ?