New architecture for Mecca


by rezapci

Two of Britain's most-renowned architects are in the running for the single most audacious renovation in history: the redevelopment of Mecca.

Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid are among 18 architects to have been approached about redesigning Islam's holiest city by building a mosque complex to host the three million Haj pilgrims who visit every year. The development would more than triple the central al-Haram mosque's current 900,000 capacity, making it the highest-occupancy building in the world.

The plans are thought to be backed by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The remit is to "establish a new architectural vision" for Mecca's 356,800sq m mosques complex. The King is to be presented with the proposals by Hadid, 58, and Foster, 73, with those of the other designers at an exhibition at the end of the month.

Sources close to the project told The Architect's Journal the scheme is likely to be phased, the first stage taking the al-Haram mosque capacity to 1.5 million. That would rise gradually until three million was reached. Neither Foster nor Hadid wanted to comment on the project last night. Hadid's spokesman said he "could neither confirm nor deny" speculation, while Foster's office said: "It has been leaked and not from us so I'm unable to comment."

Other sources describe the project as divided into two "tracks", one looking at various alternatives for the northern expansion of the al-Haram complex, and the other at the al-Haram itself. Lord Foster's firm, Foster & Partners, has been invited to partake in the former with 10 other firms including, reportedly, Atkins Design.

Zaha Hadid, with six other world-renowned firms, has been given the task of re-envisioning the al-Haram mosque itself, as well as "revisiting the whole area of the central district". British engineers Adams Kara Taylor and Faber Maunsell are also thought to be under consideration.


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Well the Kaabeh and Mecca is not a place

by XerXes (not verified) on

For knowledge or politics. It's not designed that way. If you even dare to bring the idea to the majority of the Muslims who do go there, they will not be happy.

Unlike the Islam in many civilized corners of the world, the Saudi Arabia is a symbol of barbarism, dictatorship and backwardness that could only be expected from true Arabian Islam.


allowing non-nuslim presence in makkah

by redzuan hussin (not verified) on

I agree with Mehdi's suggestion that efforts should be made to promote universal peace, understanding and tolerance among mankind to some extent. I have some reservations about allowing non-muslims to visit the grand mosque and the Ka'aba freely. As the grand mosque is a sacred sanctuary to Muslims, allowing non-muslims would affect the sanctity and purity of the mosque. However, I would suggest that some time of the year, annually, non-muslim leaders, philosophers, writers and journalist should be given a guided tour of the Holy Mosque and Ka'aba. The Saudi government should also play host to major international meeting or forums in Makkah.

One major issue to be resolved with the Jews and Christians is the acceptance of the fact that the Islam, Judaism and Christianity originated from the Prophet Abraham. We are actually brothers and sisters. So why the bitter enmity and warring? We believe in the Existence of One God and the Day of Judgement.

Mehdi Mazloom

What is needed is new architecture of thinking

by Mehdi Mazloom on

With all due respect to Muslims and King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia for the grandeur. Nonetheless, what is more important is new architectural of thinking throughout the Islamic world.

No structure, however large and imposing it will be built, will alter the mind set by which Islamist and innocent children are taught to think of other fellow humans as animals, who must to be killed, as religious obligations.

It would be commendable if the new architecture would include a center  for peace, and tolerance, built around the Kabaa. A place reserved for non-Muslims and Muslim to gather during  the Haj. Talk about peace and tolerance, and ways to perpetuate understanding among humanity. 

If Muslim declare Islam as the "universal religion", then let them do the walk, instead of just the talk - invite ALL non-believers from all religions to gather in Mecca, to promot peace and  harmony among mankind.

Unfortunately, as it stands now, any non-Muslim caught wondering within 20km radius of the Kaba'a will be executed on the spot.