Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait City is distinctive for its performance driven form, innovative engineering strategies and thoughtful response to climate conditions. At 412.6 meters (1,354 feet) tall, the 80-story office building is the tallest structure in Kuwait and the tallest building in the world to have a continuous stone façade. Al Hamra Tower’s profile sets it apart from other high rise buildings and is symbolic of Kuwait’s emerging leadership in the global business industry. Its sculptural form is essentially a passive solar protection strategy. Faced with designing for brutal sun exposure, the designers chose to draw inspiration from Kuwait’s extreme desert conditions rather than concede to their constraining, if not deleterious effect. The asymmetrical form of Al Hamra Tower is generated by a simple operation of removal. Informed by solar analyses, SOM removed one quarter of the floorplate from the south façade, initiating at the southwest corner of the tower and rotating counter-clockwise over its height. This eliminated all south-facing office space while meeting the project’s programmatic requirements: 25,000-gross square foot floor plates, 40-foot lease spans, and 270° views of the water. A 24-meter-tall lobby serves as the main entrance to the tower. It connects building services to the city’s infrastructure and contributes to the structure’s stiffness. To increase the floor area of the lobby, columns on the north side of the tower slope away from the building core following a circular arch. Concrete lamellae structure prevent the otherwise unbraced columns in the lobby from buckling by providing alternate routes to the foundations for gravity forces, as well as by directly bracing the main column elements. The lamellae’s primary members are large, measuring about four feet square at the floor; this bracing system however makes it possible for the sloping perimeter columns to be much smaller than they would be otherwise. The result is a spacious, column-free public space that serves as an introduction to the ingenuity of the tower above. The barrel vault outline of the space and the light that filters through the web of concrete members are reminiscent of Middle Eastern vernacular architecture.