The image below is of the street face of AlRaya. I’m certain that many of you have had this same thought; why have the developers of AlRaya completely wasted this wonderful opportunity? The pavement, which is actually of great quality and well maintained, is yearning for action. There are shops, cafes and restaurants right on the other side of that wall that would benefit immensely if only that wall did not exist. What happened?
Looking through one of those windows you notice that directly behind the wall is a service corridor. Imagine that; the best and most expensive potential real estate of the entire building has been wasted on a service corridor. I tried to get in there to have a look. As you’d expect, it was being used as secondary storage and waste removal for the shop owners. I don’t think that having a service corridor is such a critical element that it should be a priority even in a side alley, let alone along one of the most important pedestrian roads in Kuwait. What makes this worse is that this is on the north face of the building, meaning that the mass of AlRaya would actually block the sun and the outdoor space would mostly be in shade during the afternoon. That would be an advantage during winter, but even today at night the weather was beautiful and I can easily imagine it being filled with hip and trendy outdoor activities (or just boring but profitable cafes). It would benefit AlRaya by getting in more pedestrian traffic and increasing the rent for those street facing shops, while benefiting the city by adding more activity and enriching the pedestrian lifestyle.
I really don’t understand how this decision was made. What would be the advantage to the way it’s set up now? Other than the pointless service corridor there isn’t any reason for this. I’m inclined to suggest that the architect simply had this preconceived notion that AlRaya would be an introspective mall that is just totally sealed off from its site. The irony is that on the other side of the building, between the parking structure and the mall, AlRaya are trying their best to achieve that same kind of outdoor pedestrian activity that can happen at the front but failed miserably. That space is always dead, even though it’s shaded and clean. It’s just a dumb, wasteful and frankly arrogant decision. It’s not too late to tear that wall down. I have a sledgehammer they can borrow.