Yousef AbdulMohsen Al-Haroun, Mohammed Nasser Al-Ajmi

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26687/archnet-ijar.v12i3.1712


This study examines the socio-cultural spaces of the two major groups in Kuwait: the Hadhar and Badu. These groups are not an ethnic classification but are rooted in their historic settlements. The Hadhar refer to people who lived in old Kuwait town and were mostly merchants and artisans who made their living from the sea. The Badu on the other hand, most commonly referred to as Bedouins, are nomadic tribes who lived on the outskirts of old Kuwait town or in the Arabian Desert. This study employs cognitive maps to reveal fascinating insights into the lifestyles and cultural differences of these two groups as it relates to their domestic built environment. This study argues that house spatial organization is tightly coupled with a family’s socio-cultural traditions and values; hence, there are major spatial distinctions between the houses of the Hadhar and Badu. These differences are apparent in the houses’ main spaces such as the living hall, male guest reception space or diwaniya, and main entrance. This paper also contends that these differences are rooted historically in the traditional Hadhar mud brick courtyard houses and the traditional Badu Arabian tents. Although the oil boom and consequent impact of globalization transformed Kuwait’s houses into modern villas, on the inside they are still linked to each group’s traditional use of space.


housing; Kuwait; Hadhar; Badu; tradition; modernity; globalization

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