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HOK selected for Kuwait parliament renovation.

The government of Kuwait through the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, selected the New York City office of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, P.C. (HOK) for the interior redesign and restoration of the Kuwait Parliament/National Assembly Building.

The Parliament/National Assembly structure, originally completed in the mid-1980's, is considered among the most famous landmarks in Kuwait. The building was originally designed by architect John Utzon of Denmark, who is also noted for his design of the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

Hugh J. Williamson, a senior principal of HOK New York and principal-incharge of the project, said "The commencement of the design and restoration of this building, which suffered extensive damage during the invasion of Kuwait by Irag, is an important step forward in the reconstruction of the entire country, for it is symbolic of the progress that the Kuwait government is making to return to normalcy."

The project, encompassing approximately 400,000 square feet, involves interior renovation of the entire building, which suffered varying degrees of damage from total destruction to light smoke damage. The project will proceed on an extremely fast track schedule, and is expected to be completed by May 1992.

In March 1991, HOK responded to an announcement from the United States Corps of Engineers by submitting firm-wide multi-disciplinary credentials. The HOK New York office was then approached in April, along with 25 other firms from around the world, to submit interior design credentials relative to the Parliament/National Assembly Building. HOK was ultimately selected after an interview process that involved eight finalists from the United States, United Kingdom and France. HOK New York will complete significant design work and present it in Kuwait 21 days after the award of the official contract.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers has been closely ivolved with the Ministry of Public Works throughout the emergency reconstruction process, including evaluating and recommending design firms for this interior design project. In addition, the United States Corps of Engineers will be responsible for administering and managing both the design and construction contracts.

The HOK New York core team consisted of Hugh j. Williamson; Project Manager Michael O'Con, and Mark Morton, project designer. Traveling to Kuwait prior to the presentation, the team toured the site, assessed the extent of the damage, examined programmatic issues, and studied schedule implications, before making their presentation, with HOK Vice Chairman King Graf, to the selection committee on June 13.

HOK is working in association with SIEF Engineering Consultants, a design/engineering/construction management firm located in Kuwait.

For the presentation, Morton prepared sketches of key areas in the building such as the entry hall, reception hall, and general assembly, which illustrated this sensitivity. These renderings were supported by color, material and furniture samples to give a very real; sense of the proposed design.
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Title Annotation:Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 7, 1991
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