After the discovery of oil, the Kuwaiti State established a means of wealth distribution for its citizens through housing programmes aimed at improving standards of living. It allocated residential neighbourhoods for Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis through the introduction of two main architectural typologies: the apartment and the villa. However, in response to certain economic, sociocultural and regulatory constraints, an unplanned hybrid typology has recently emerged. The multiplex, specific to Kuwait and yet not officially recognised by the state, has become the informal expression of specific living needs that is now ubiquitous across Kuwait.
Here, for the first time, the authors of The Multiplex Typology explore everyday life in these hybrid homes, arguing that the one-size-fits-all housing model of the past is both outdated and unsustainable. But this book is not merely a documentation of the current state of living in Kuwait, nor a straightforward analysis of Kuwaiti domestic architecture today. It is also an urgent and timely call for alternative approaches to housing that are sustainably driven, culturally rooted and responsive to future change.