20th Edition – Zak World of Façades Kuwait

After stupendous success of the initial three editions, the edition of the Zak World of Façades conference series in the Middle East took place in Kuwait on the 23rd May at the iconic Jumeirah Messilah Beach Resort. This was the first ever conference dedicated to façades in Kuwait and was very well appreciated. The one-day conference gathered some of the finest and most prominent names from the construction industry in Kuwait sharing their expertise and experience delivering safe and sustainable façades.

Kuwait is home to some of the world’s finest buildings with some classical façades. With ever increasing demand on infrastructure with Kuwait Vision 2035 in mind, the need to build eco-friendly and sustainable buildings with high performance and energy efficient façade is seeing a new light. There is an all-inclusive emphasis on cutting edge façades that are structurally, aesthetically, thermally, technologically & acoustically efficient, secure and above all sustainable.

This edition exhibited some of the finest façade products and hosted some highly technical, but relevant to Kuwait context, façade talks. The event was intimate, with around 162 attendees who thronged the Grand Ballroom. The endeavor was to unite the ever expanding brigade of experts in the field of façades and building envelopes, to bring to fore the novice ideas and improvise the old and thereby enabling an adept and empowered façade industry. The conference doubled up as a unique platform for networking and enhancing business relationships.

On a positive note, Alex Dantziguian, Managing Director of Technoform Middle East, who was the event convener initiated the conference proceedings immediately after. Relating the past journey of Zak World of Façades, Syed Ahad Ahmed, Director, Zak Group, welcomed the audience and hence begun the much awaited technical presentations.

The first session saw an informative presentation by the dynamic Micha Pawelka, Managing Director, Priedemann Building Envelope Consultants of UAE, who asked the audience a petulant question if façade guidance services is an add-on investment? and fluidly answered the same while presenting a case study on consequence of not availing a competent service team. This was followed by a presentation by Dr Nasser Abulhassan, Principal, AGi Architects who spoke about façades & roofs with case studies of some boutique projects from across the globe. Next to speak was Petros Karatzas, Deputy Commercial Manager, Elval colour who spoke on paint developments for building envelopes and how to choose the right coating and then the session ended with a networking break.

The second session started with a special presentation by Agnes Koltay, Director, Koltay Façades on building the Opus, a double curved glazed project in Dubai designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. She elaborated how the outer flat façades of the Opus are neutral transparent glazed with a silver mirror pattern, while the core area is dark blue 3D formed glazing. Speaking next was Samar Al Salem, General Manager, Khabari International who spoke on the need for façade lighting with a case study on the iconic Kuwait Towers and the challenges her firm faced in installing the lights. This was followed by the keynote presentation of the day by Waleed Shaalan, Senior Project Director, United Real Estate company who delivered a spell binding presentation on the critical look of the evolution of the façade with various illustrations. His presentation received a standing ovation from the audience.

The first panel discussion of the day was on guidance on sustainable façades for the region and the panel comprised of Arun Puri, Associate, Gulf Consult; Ashfaq Ahmed, Senior Specification Writer, SSH; Mohammed Ismail, Director of A&E Services, KEO International and Dr Ioannis Spanos, Senior Sustainability Manager, KEO International and moderator Alex Dantziguian, Managing Director, Technofrom Middle East deftly steering the discussion that revolved around the local green building regulations, shading techniques, sustainable products and their selection. The session ended with a networking lunch break.

The third and final session opened with an interesting presentation by Firoz Kachwala, Director, Future Architectural Glass who spoke about the problems in glare and sunlight in the Middle East and showcased innovative solutions through glass to overcome them. Next to speak was Dr Ioannis Spanos, Senior Sustainability Manager, KEO International who spoke about façade energy and sustainability engineering requirement with case studies of KEO’s iconic projects such as the Qatar Petroleum District, Kuwait Investment Authority Building and Qatar University’s administration block along with the Wafra Tower by UN Studio. The focus then moved to fire safety in façades and speaking next was Sajid Raza, Vice President – Technical, Butler Engineering on perimeter fire protect and how to prevent the smoke from spreading from floor to floor. Imran Manasawala, Director, Future Architectural Glass spoke next on the types of fire rated glass categories and its correct usage and application with appropriate videos.

The power packed session was concluded with an equally powerful panel discussion on fire safety in façades that revolved around current problems and possible solutions related to fire & façade; various tests & standards pertaining to fire; perimeter fire stopping and aimed at clarifying the basics like fire resistance’ vs ‘reaction to fire’ and fire rated terminology along with touching the sensitive nerve of fire reviews and audits. This panel was expertly moderated by Sajid Raza, Vice President – Technical, Butler Engineering and panelist included Agnes Koltay, Director, Koltay Façades; Imran Manasawala, Director, Future Architectural Glass and Burhan Ravat, DGM – Projects, Tamdeen.

The conference was complemented by an interesting display of products. Alumil & Brital displayed their aluminium curtain wall, railings, door & window systems. APT showcased their value added services for glass processing solutions. Elval Colour displayed their wide range of solutions for façades including cladding and roofing solutions. Kinlong & Ozone showcased their glass hardware fittings including spider glazing solutions. Premier Building Solutions representing Index Fasteners showcased their wide range on fixing solutions. Future Architectural Glass displayed their value added high performance glass products. Khabari International demonstrated façade lighting with a mockup of a structure. Technoform Middle East displayed their thermal break and warm edge spacer solutions.

Speakers and Panelists
Director, Future Architectural Glass
Imran has done his BBM from Singapore and is one of the founding members of Future Architectural Glass. He offers exceptional service & support to architects, consultants and fabricators in ensuring the right product selection when it comes to Glass,...
Managing Director - MEIA, Technoform
Alex Dantziguian is the Managing Director of Technoform Middle East, based in Dubai. TECHNOFORM, is the global leader based in Germany with worldwide know-how on thermal insulation of doors, windows, & façades for over 40 years. With 11 production plants...
Managing Director, AGI Architects
Aisha Alsager currently serves as Managing Director at AGi architects, where she oversees a number of projects spanning a range of program, scale, typology, complexity and overall firm strategy in Kuwait City. Prior to joining AGi, Alsager worked in Boston...
Chief Operating Officer, Priedemann Façade Experts
Recently resettled in Germany, Micha Pawelka has been the COO of Priedemann Holding GmbH since January 2021, where he oversees and handles the company’s day-to-day administration and operational function as well as the group’s financial matters. Before that, at the...
Deputy Commercial Manager, Elval Colour
Petros Karatzas has a degree in Business Studies and is for the last 6 years the Deputy Commercial Manager of Elval Colour. He has more than 20 years experience in the field of building envelopes facades and his current role...
Director, Koltay Façades
Agnes Koltay has a Masters degree in Architecture (Hungary, USA) and in Façade Engineering (UK) and worked with award winning architects and multidisciplinary engineering companies before founding Koltay Façades, a boutique façade engineering consultancy firm, in 2011. She is the...
Senior Projects Director, Design and Development ,URC
Waleed Shaalan is a B.Sc Architecture graduate from the University of Maryland , USA and G.C.E University of London and a LEED GA . He is Currently the senior projects director at the United Real Estate Company and is leading...
Façade Director, Werner Sobek
Benjamin has been working as a façade professional for 20 years with projects around the world and long-term positions in Stuttgart, London, New York and Dubai. After building up and heading the Dubai office of Werner Sobek in the position...
CEO, Butler Engineering
Sajid Raza is the CEO at BUTLER ENGINEERING (ME) responsible for the overall management and operational steering of the company in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Under his leadership, Butler Fire Consulting provides a wide range of fire engineering...
Senior Associate & Head of Architectural Technical Services, Gulf Consult
Arun joined Gulf Consult in 2002 and currently serves as a Senior Associate and Head of Architectural Technical Services., He has managed teams of architects, engineers and specialist sub-consultants in executing several major projects, from data collection through tender awards...
Sr.Specifications Writer, SSH
Ashfaq joined SSH in January 2006 as a Senior Specification Writer. He has more than 29 years of diverse hands-on experience on works related to building design and project delivery, including pre-contract works, specification writing, estimation and supervision. Ashfaq is...
Country Manager, Shapoorji Pallonji International
Aroon Sen is civil engineer by profession with a masters degree in business management. He started his career in India and moved to the Middle East in 1979 and has been working in the Gulf and Middle East ever since....
Director of A&E Services, KEO
Mr. Ismail has more than twenty-five years of professional experience as an Architect and director and has worked with leading design and architecture firms in the USA and the Middle East. His extensive and impressive experience encompasses a wide range...
Project Manager, First United Contracting
Talal Yousef Andraos is “Projects Manager” at one of the foremost contractors of construction buildings in Kuwait, First United General Trading & Contracting Co. He is a MSc. Graduate specialised in the field of Civil Engineering, and presently holds a...
Director, Future Architectural Glass
Firoz Kachwala is the Founding member and General Manager of Future Architectural Glass. With Masters degree specializing in Operations and Bachelor in Engineering, Firoz was instrumental in setting up the advanced safety glass manufacturing plant in RAK (UAE) pushing the...
Time & Cost Manager, Alumaco
Mohammad Bdoor is qualified Industrial Engineer and accomplished professional offering 12.5 years of progressive experience in managing production, quality, health, safety and cost reduction and 10 years of international exposure in Architecture & Planning sector. Verifiable strengths in executing innovative...
DGM - Projects, Tamdeen
Mr. BurhanRavat is Civil Engineer with more than 34 years of Professional Experience. Presently working with Tamdeen Groups of Company and his position is “Deputy General Manager” for projects in Tamdeen Shopping Center Development Company. Since the past 20 years...
Senior Sustainability Manager, KEO International Consultants
Dr Ioannis Spanos is a Chartered Engineer with 16 years professional experience in low energy buildings and in developing sustainable building solutions. Following a PhD in the physics of energy in urban environments, his experience includes energy master-planning and projects...
Conference Agenda
  • Detailed Design vs. Design-and-Built approach
  • Limit to sufficient crowd – Too many cooks spoil the broth
  • Don’t interrupt – Let the guidance continue
  • Case study of the Mashrabiya screens at the Qatar Petroleum district in Doha
  • Façades: What are they and how do we think of them conceptually
  • Façades in AGi projects with exclusive case studies
  • Importance of proper passivation in aluminium substrate
  • Paint specifications per warranty period
  • Functional coatings
  • The Opus is a 20-storey fully glazed mixed used building in Dubai. Commissioned by Omniyat, Zaha Hadid Architects developed a unique design resembling a cube with the core melted out
  • Discover how the outer flat façades of The Opus are neutral transparent glazed with a silver mirror pattern, while the core area is dark blue 3D formed glazing
  • Recognise the main challenges of achieving the 3D double-curved shape such as the UAE climate, colour correction and dealing with the radiation focusing effect the geometry imposes
  • Value addition that facade lighting brings to a project
  • Case study of the facade lighting at Kuwait Towers

Presentation by Khabari International.

  • A critical look of the evolution of the façade from the environmentally culturally sensitive to the iconographically senseless
  • Understanding the role of building envelopes to meet local green building regulations
  • Sustainable products design & selection for façades
  • Stakeholder coordination - Interface between main contractor & façade contractorThermal efficiency of a curtain wallDynamic shading techniques

Alex Dantziguian

  • Transforming architectural visions into design 3D models and real buildings
  • Pushing technology to enable twisted and curved façades
  • Cost efficiency in design of complex façades
  • Failures and installation errors – The importance of QA/QC on site
  • Outlook and future perspectives for façade engineering in the Middle East
  • Problems with glare and high sunlight in the Middle East
  • Introducing ecoTHERM (IGU) with Solera®?- 'the Real Daylighting Solution
  • Bespoke façades with MESHDECO Sefar®?Architecture Vision
  • Current problems and possible solutions
  • Cladding - right choice of material, tests & standards
  • Perimeter firestopping - Preventing the spread of smoke from floor to floor
  • 'Fire resistance' vs 'Reaction to fire' - Clarification of 'Fire rated' terminology
  • Fire safety review and audits

Sajid Raza

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