Posted by: Barrak Al-Babtain | December 28, 2009

Shamiya House

I’m becoming very encouraged because of a perceptible shift in attitude towards outdoor space in Kuwaiti clients. People are finally understanding the outstanding value that a well designed roof garden or courtyard can provide. Maybe it’s just a reaction to the wonderful weather, but it’s a good sign of progress. A recent project of ours at albabtain|design is an example of this desire for change. A modern home for a small family on an exceedingly small 250m2 plot of land on which the client insisted on privacy with abundant natural light and green spaces.

The design calls for a building that is 8.5m wide and has a narrow private garden on the first floor. The front facade has no discernible ‘windows’ yet the spaces inside are all very well lit through the use of large openings behind a series of louvers and vegetation (the L shaped thing on the above image). This residual space filters the harsh light while also creating privacy.

The client values privacy and natural light and this solution has achieved both through the use of the private garden on the first floor. A small water feature adds to the material palette of the space as well as acting as an ambient noise generator to dampen the sound of the street.

The image above is the view from the master bedroom. A sliding door allows access to the private garden to create a natural ventilation current and to merge indoor/outdoor. The louvers are fixed and allow light to get in, but prevents the neighbor from looking through. The garden space is around 2.5m wide and becomes part of the main living space once the sliding glass doors are opened.

The image above is a transition space before entering the home on the ground floor. We talked about body shock and the need for this kind of entrance before. Most home entrances in Kuwait are simple doors, when in fact an entrance has to be a space. This allows ones body to gradually adjust to the temperature, light, sound and humidity differences between indoor and outdoor without being subjected to body shock. The project is currently under construction.



  1. Great design. I think you should also create a passage to the roof and something there.

    • Yeah, I forgot to mention that there is a roof garden too.

  2. The house is narrow so I’m assuming it shares the plot with this older house which is attached to it, right?

  3. I don’t think so Faisal. Back in the day, the low inome families used to get small government housing, at the time 250 m2 is common and you can find it in lots of area’s like Shamia, Keefan ,Qadsiya.

  4. Faisal’s right, it was originally an old 500m house that was split in half.

    Jasem: Is it really that common? I’m not sure if i’ve seen one to be honest, but maybe I just wasn’t looking.

  5. I will take you on a tour around those area’s Barrak and show you.

  6. Jasem, you’re right but those 250sqm plots weren’t narrow, that was why I figured this house was an extension of a 500 sqm plot.

    Again barrak you leave us wanting to learn more of the design, but without plans we can deduce nothing of the way the spaces are arranged 🙂

  7. great blog with great designs.
    i love the modern designs. and the use of space is so great here.
    where can i find a good company that can make for me such louvers, water body or good sliding doors ??
    any suggestions ??


  8. its a well integrated garden in this relatively small house. it would be more helpful if you could provide floor plans of the house to get an overall feeling of the space.

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