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4 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I December 2008
British architects to
change the face of Makkah
Two of Britain’s most sought-after blocks. district should be 3 million.
architects are at the heart of a A report by the Saudi British Bank, The proposals have been split
multibillion-pound redevelopment of one of the kingdom’s biggest lenders, into two. Foster & Partners, which
Makkah. estimated earlier this year that £15 is headed by Lord Foster, is one
Lord Foster of Thames Bank and billion will be invested by foreign and of ten practices that will look at a
Zaha Hadid are among an elite group Saudi companies in construction and range of alternatives for the northern
of architects and engineers who will infrastructure in Makkah by 2012. expansion of the Haram mosque. Ms
provide ideas for an ambitious and Homes and hills are to be flattened and Hadid has been given the key job of
highly sensitive construction project in their place about 130 skyscrapers coming up with ideas for the mosque
in Makkah. are planned, including the Abraj Al itself, as well as “revisiting the whole
Part of the redevelopment is Bait Towers, which is to be one of the area of the central district”.
thought to include a new building world’s biggest buildings. A source close to the project told
near the Haram mosque that will be At the centre of the development The Architects’ Journal: “The main
capable of holding 3 million pilgrims. will be the redesign of the mosque and objective of the design studies is
The confidential plans, reported in its surrounding area. King Abdullah to enrich our discourse on how we
The Architects’ Journal, are believed is understood to have recruited 18 should address the future architecture
to be endorsed by King Abdullah bin leading architects, engineers and of the Haram.”
Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia. construction firms to “establish a new Lord Foster, 73, and Ms Hadid, 58,
Modern Makkah, with its branches architectural vision” for the 356,800 are both former winners of the Pritzker
of Top Shop and Starbucks, is all square metre complex. Prize, architecture’s equivalent
but unrecognisable from the city that According to The Architects’ of a Nobel prize.Lord Foster’s
predated the foundation of the Saudi Journal the project is likely to masterpieces include “the Gherkin” in
kingdom in 1932. Conservationists be phased, with the initial stage London and Beijing airport. Ms Hadid
claim that hundreds of historic increasing the capacity of the mosque is working on the Aquatic Centre for
buildings have been levelled to make from 900,000 to 1.5 million. Once the the London Olympics. Neither would
way for
297x210_COMBINED_PASION 14/05/2008 18
high-rise hotels and apartment
scheme is completed capacity for the comment on the plans.
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