Foster + Partners wins Mecca design competition with “cascading” hotel

UK architect Foster + Partners has unveiled the winning design for a hotel and serviced apartment complex at the centre of the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The design aims to reinterpret the densely clustered layout of the traditional Arab medina, and thereby create a "contemporary vernacular that respects its sacred location".

The mixed-use development is built on steeply sloping terrain, and has "cascading vertical elements that form a new topography". This will create a "gateway" along the route to the Grand Mosque.

Located on the axis between the new Haramain high-speed rail station and the Grand Mosque, the site also forms part of the pilgrims’ journey towards the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam.

Luke Fox, a senior partner in the architect, said: "The project presents a special challenge and honour for any developer and architect. Our design sets out to create an innovative building form that will be respectful to the scale and importance of the Grand Mosque.

"Our endeavour has been to make the experience special and appropriate to its unique location. The design follows a philosophy of ‘luxury with humility’, with an understated elegance throughout the development."

Foster + Partners worked with real estate firm Jabal Omar Development Company on the scheme.

Images via Foster + Partners

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