Negotiating the Politics of Exclusion: Georges Candilis, Housing and the Kuwaiti Welfare State


In the early stages of welfare planning, the Kuwaiti state restricted equal access to its housing programs in neighborhoods outside the city. The subsequent demographic shift, caused by a Kuwaiti exodus to the ‘suburbs’ and non-Kuwaiti urban labor migration, prompted calls for housing schemes to encourage city living for citizens. Georges Candilis’s proposal for a residential neighborhood in Kuwait City emerged from this context. This article examining Candilis’s unrealized project also offers a critical perspective on Kuwait’s unbalanced housing policies. From this analysis, it draws observations on the role of architects and their limited impact on policies established by decision-making networks within the welfare state. Seen from this perspective, the Candilis project bears witness to broader socio-economic agendas that privileged some groups while marginalizing or excluding others.