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.