Saudi Focus

X-Architects reveals winning masterplan for Makkah

July 2015

Dubai-based X-Architects has unveiled the winning masterplan for Makkah, which aims to cater to the requirements of the rising numbers of pilgrims each year. Islam’s holiest city is projected to host some 20 million Haj pilgrims by 2030.

The company, which won a competition to design a new masterplan for the city, envisions a dense mixed-use development providing accommodation and facilities for the pilgrims during Haj. The focus of its masterplan has been on providing safe and streamlined routes for pilgrims.

Another priority has been to meet the requirements of pilgrims on their way to Makkah, who have to spend three nights in about 100,000 temporary, air-conditioned tents in the valley of Mina. The rough terrain of the valley, the lack of space and restrictions on building permanent structures inside Hima Al Masheir (the holy ritual territories) make it difficult to provide sufficient services and facilities to the pilgrims during their stay in Mina, said the company.

Hence, on the closest available site located adjacent to Hima Al Masheir – which is at the intersection of the most important pilgrimage routes – X-Architects said it has proposed a dense mixed-use development that will provide accommodation, facilities and services.

X-Architects “proposed a complex network of pedestrian routes on different levels to enhance the movement during the ‘Nafrah’, the ritual of moving from Mina to Haram and vice versa,” the company said.

It said the design allows for a smoother transition from Al Jamarat plaza to the existing pedestrian bridge and the future pedestrian tunnel. The surrounding roads have either been bridged or tunnelled to enhance pedestrian convenience and safety.

Inspired by the surrounding mountains, the urban form consists of staggered pixels of towers which respond to various climatic conditions.

During the rest of the year, the podium and the plazas/courtyards become public spaces for the people of Makkah.

Doroob Development Company is the client for the project, which involves a total built-up area of 821,229 sq m.

X-Architects’ design team comprises Ahmed Al Ali, Farid Esmaeil, Kota Segawa, Mathan Ramaiah, Riccardo Robustini, Saif lassas, Farah Nasri, Dana Sheikh, Pariya Manafi, Hayat Fedda, and Waleed Al Mezaini. The collaborator is engineering consultant Buro Happold.

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