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leftopolis
May 24, 2009, 3:08 AM
Perhaps not a surprise to others, but Makkah Province--which includes Mecca and nearby Jeddah--has a more sizeable population than I expected. The province is also rapidly growing, so I think we can expect alot more urban architecture from these cities.
Mecca - Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecca)

Population (2007)
- City 1,700,000
- Density 4,200/km2 (2,625/sq mi)
- Urban 2,053,912
- Metro 2,500,000


Population (2007)
- City 3,400,000
- Density 2,921/km2 (1,826/sq mi)
- Urban 3,855,912
- Metro 4,500,000
Jeddah Municipality estimate

JManc
May 24, 2009, 4:23 AM
Not quite an apt comparison...since the structure is there to primarily accomodate pilgrims.

it dominates the entire setting. the hotels around the vatican blend in with their surroundings which in turn, compliments the vatican. not compete with it.

plus, i would imagine the amount of tourists rome gets annually is more or less the same as the pilgrims to the hajj.

Pizzuti
May 24, 2009, 5:30 AM
I don't think the Vatican is exactly like Mecca as a holy place. There are similarities, which I pointed out earlier, but Mecca is considerably "holier."

You literally cannot be considered a devout Muslim if you don't perform the hajj. Visiting Mecca is, essentially, a sacrament. Remember that Muslims across the world face Mecca when they pray five times a day.

The Vatican may be the seat of the Catholic pope, the head of the church government, but it is of no real significance to Catholics living elsewhere; Christ never visited there, there is no prophesy about anything happening in the Vatican, there is no compulsion to go there, and if the church moved its capitol somewhere else the religion would not change (it actually did, temporarily, a few times in history during political conflicts or wars).

The commercialization of Mecca is more comparable to the commercialization of, say, communion wafers in Catholicism. Like imagine if a company were selling communion hosts at a profit. Or if you could pick them up after mass at a Starbucks inside the church next to the rectory.

Now I'm not saying that this building "commercializes" Mecca - but I would say that its a potential political conflict in the future if staying at these hotels becomes intrinsic to performing the hajj. I'd really like to hear from some Muslim insiders, who live in Mecca or have performed the hajj before, on this project. I wouldn't expect strong opposition but if more of these kinds of buildings go up (which I'm sure will happen) I bet criticism would emerge.

leftopolis
May 24, 2009, 5:58 AM
I meant to add this to my earlier post wrt the developing urban nature of the city. Don't have much info on this, but it's from SSC (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=192169&page=46)
Abraj Albait with Jabal Omar and the western gate projects
http://img50.imageshack.us/img50/5830/mk1.jpg

leftopolis
May 24, 2009, 7:18 AM
it dominates the entire setting. the hotels around the vatican blend in with their surroundings which in turn, compliments the vatican. not compete with it.

plus, i would imagine the amount of tourists rome gets annually is more or less the same as the pilgrims to the hajj.

I don't know about the respective tourist numbers, but not everybody going to Rome, is there to see the Catholic Vatican. Also, even if the visitor numbers were equal--there's a big difference between annual vs jamming that same number into a 3 day period.

I just didn't see any comparison with the ESB--which I understood to be specifically a commercial/office enterprise, and Rome was already a big, built-out city, millenia ago. It's possible they wouln't have the room for a new mega-structure. Mecca was a small city until very recently...366K from the 1974 census. Also, The Vatican/Rome is not a place that regularly has 1-2 million people descend upon it, to my knowledge.

I'm not going to quibble over somebody's opinion regarding degree of tackiness--that's a characteristic that varies with the eye of the beholder. I'm certainly not interested in starting up what amounts to be another crusade: The media's done a damn good job of that over recent years in creating a devisive atitude when it comes to Christianity and Islam. Furthermore, there's already been plenty of bashing, in that vein, on this thread. Ironic, considering that both faiths read the bible.

There are plenty of examples of either faith, going over the line in some people's perceptions, when it comes to blending religion with commercialism. When I was in Mexico, I visited the shrine at Gudalupe. I also visited Mayan Temples. They all had vendors selling chachkas. To me, a big-ass hotel and mall selling religious paraphenalia right next to a Muslim shrine, is on the same scale as a hotel advertising itself with a picture suggesting getting liquored-up while overlooking a Christian shrine. I also comprehend it's a nuanced world, so I can see how you might not see it exactly that way.

I agree it dominates--I'm just OK with it:
1) Given some of the other proposals, I fully expect it to be part of a much greater urban mass of hig-rises. It'll still dominate, but over an expanded skyline as opposed to being a skyline in itself currently.
2) The shrine it overlooks is a place of gathering for huge crowds. The faith encourages it's 1 billion+ adherents--to go there at least once in their lifetime. It's not like the Vatican in that sense. It's definitely not a place of solitude or quit contemplation, the way some other spiritual shrines might be. The only comparison that comes to mind is perhaps The Kumba Mela (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumbh_mela), in India. Here's a pic of a recent one:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/55/Mela.jpg

Patrick
May 24, 2009, 7:39 AM
It's all so overwhelming and so hard to comprehend, everything seems so messy, cheaply built, and very very confusing. It looks cool but seems so unpractical, I also hate how everything's so squished up next to the gorgeous Mosque. gives me a headache just thinking about it.

leftopolis
May 24, 2009, 9:57 PM
I'm curious whether urban enthusiasts felt that the skyscrapers in this pic--were somehow innappropriate, overwhelming, or "squishing" St, Patrick's Cathedral in NY, as urbanism enroached. Some even look cheaply made.
From Here (http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en-us&um=1&ei=_b4ZSuCPKZngsgOlhYXaCA&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=st.+patrick%27s+cathedral&spell=1):

http://www.visitingdc.com/images/st-patrick%27s-cathedral-nyc.jpg

lakegz
May 24, 2009, 10:46 PM
^I'm sorry but that comparison has FAIL written all over it.

leftopolis
May 24, 2009, 11:10 PM
I don't know if there's a separate "Mecca" thread--but this seems related, considering the sheer size of the building this thread is about. Foster and Partners are involved in designing stations for the new HSR being constructed in Saudia Arabia--connecting Mecca and Medina via the large urban center of Jeddah, which is also where most international pilgrims first arrive.

From Foster and Partners (http://www.fosterandpartners.com/News/375/Default.aspx):


22/04/2009
Foster + Partners and Buro Happold joint venture to design four stations for Saudi Arabia’s new Haramain High-speed Railway

Foster + Partners and Buro Happold joint venture has been appointed to design four stations along a new high speed railway line in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will link the cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah. The Haramain High-speed Railway (HHR) is a major infrastructure project, conceived to forge new social and economic links by dramatically cutting journey times between the cities in western Saudi Arabia and by providing a new transport option for many of the pilgrims making the journey to the religious cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Passing via Jeddah and the King Abdullah Economic City, the new HHR service will be operated by state-of-the-art, high-speed trains, capable of reaching speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour. By providing an attractive alternative to the use of private vehicles, the scheme will considerably lessen the future impact of these journeys on the environment.

The HHR’s fast-track construction programme has led to a modularised approach to the station design with a high degree of prefabrication. While all stations will share a common planning strategy, each will have a distinct identity and building envelope to respond to the respective cities they serve. All will provide extensive facilities and a high quality passenger experience, with generous circulation spaces and segregated arrival and departure zones. The public areas – including platforms – will be environmentally controlled to enhance comfort and will have filtered natural daylight throughout.

Mouzhan Majidi, Chief Executive of Foster + Partners, said:
“The Haramain High-speed Rail project represents a major investment in sustainable public transport by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with potentially far-reaching social and economic consequences. The project will foster new social and cultural connections across the Kingdom’s western cities, and the design of the four new stations will support and symbolise this progressive approach.”

Martin Walsh, Project Director at Buro Happold, said:
“The HHR is a genuinely exciting and challenging project and one of the most important transportation initiatives in the Kingdom. The innovative scalable modular approach to the design of the stations will enable the speedy delivery of high-quality station buildings – fast-track in every sense.”

JManc
May 25, 2009, 1:20 AM
I just didn't see any comparison with the ESB--which I understood to be specifically a commercial/office enterprise, and Rome was already a big, built-out city, millenia ago.

the empire state building is a huge skyscraper. the al-bait towers will be huge skyscrapers. skyscrapers have their place and i don't think right on top of historic cultural sites are it. so far, you have not convinced me why they need to be built in that spot. they could have easily been built elsewhere.

a 17th century ottoman era building was demolished to make room for the the al-bait towers. so mecca didn't really have the room either. at least not in the immediate proximity of the mosque.

leftopolis
May 25, 2009, 2:34 AM
skyscrapers have their place and i don't think right on top of historic cultural sites are it... they could have easily been built elsewhere.


Fair enough...Do you also apply this philosophy to the skyscrapers engulfing the gothic-style cathedral in NYC(a few posts up)?

JManc
May 25, 2009, 7:19 AM
Fair enough...Do you also apply this philosophy to the skyscrapers engulfing the gothic-style cathedral in NYC(a few posts up)?

not really no because neither st. patrick's itself or the land it sits on has any significance other than accommodating the local archdiocese in a major city. it's not a 1,500 year old holy site. st. patrick's is significant but it took a century for us to truly appreciate it.

Aleks
May 25, 2009, 8:25 AM
I think they chose the site because it makes sense. The site was probably the only "available" land near the mosque where developers could build a giant complex to accommodate pilgrims. It also makes sense having the complex within a comfortable walking distance. This creates less hassle during the times the pilgrims need to go to the mosque and it saves the government a butt-load of money. If the complex was farther away, the government would have to provide comfortable transportation to-and-from the mosque which could mean millions of dollars wasted.

Sure there will be a high-speed rail built soon but that's designed for long distances, not 1 mile lines. The huge complex also makes more sense than having hundreds of small buildings scattered throughout the entire surrounding are of the mosque which would mean even more lost history.

Now I can see that future plans call for even more destruction of surrounding buildings, which is not the best idea in my opinion. I still feel like the government can do a better job with the layout of the area. But by incorporating several "complex-cities", the pilgrims can get more comfort, less destruction, less distance, and more money saved. Also, these complexes can assure that more people can attend at once without having to worry about overcrowding, it creates more organization which means the gov can keep track of people easier than ever before and it adds a better look to the surrounding area.

We also don't know much about that area in general. How do we know many of those structures are even historic? How many are original and how many were built in the 70's? I too would like to hear from a pilgrim so that we get a better understanding of the situation. In some ways I like the idea of this complex and in others I don't. But overall is we look at it from every point possible, the positives seem to outweigh the negatives.

jbr12
May 25, 2009, 1:08 PM
Hope this is an appropriate place to post this... You can see a ghosted Abraj Al-Bait Towers in the background of the video.

http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=763&storycode=3140848&c=1

Atkin's proposals for Mecca's Transformation

A video detailing Atkins’ proposal to transform the Haram Mosque, one of the world’s holiest sites in the city of Mecca, has been leaked.

Pizzuti
May 25, 2009, 4:59 PM
^Wow, that's fascinating video, but what an awful clash between that architecture and the architecture of the mosque!

chiphile
May 25, 2009, 5:21 PM
I am also Muslim and have visited Mecca 3 times in my life.

One of the the biggest disappointments I felt was the loss of history. Architecture that inspires nostalgia of an earlier time is important for places like this, and I never got a sense of awe and wonder when I was in the actual city - the shops and streets all looked too modern.

The actual mosque however melts your heart, and you feel the powerful symbol of Islamic monotheism, of humanity united and facing one direction, and I don't think that can ever change. Once you are inside the structure, which is truly magnificent, the rest of the city is forgotten.

However, this observation of mine was made before this monstrosity could be seen from the inside the grand mosque, which I feel is the worst part. Was something as tall as the sears tower necessary to be that close? Most of my Muslim friends who have visited recently say it is atrocious, not because of its architecture or design, but because of its proximity.

Nevertheless, I love how the internet has made us all one global community and everyone is welcome to critique how something looks, no matter what culture it belongs to. If the Saudis were more democratic and actually listened to people, perhaps we would've had a better design.

gttx
May 25, 2009, 6:01 PM
Fair enough...Do you also apply this philosophy to the skyscrapers engulfing the gothic-style cathedral in NYC(a few posts up)?

Skyscrapers on 5th Avenue in New York City are about as far as you can get from skyscrapers nearly on top of Islam's holiest site. Sorry, but the comparison just isn't working.

JManc
May 25, 2009, 11:17 PM
I am also Muslim and have visited Mecca 3 times in my life.

One of the the biggest disappointments I felt was the loss of history. Architecture that inspires nostalgia of an earlier time is important for places like this, and I never got a sense of awe and wonder when I was in the actual city - the shops and streets all looked too modern.

The actual mosque however melts your heart, and you feel the powerful symbol of Islamic monotheism, of humanity united and facing one direction, and I don't think that can ever change. Once you are inside the structure, which is truly magnificent, the rest of the city is forgotten.

However, this observation of mine was made before this monstrosity could be seen from the inside the grand mosque, which I feel is the worst part. Was something as tall as the sears tower necessary to be that close? Most of my Muslim friends who have visited recently say it is atrocious, not because of its architecture or design, but because of its proximity.

Nevertheless, I love how the internet has made us all one global community and everyone is welcome to critique how something looks, no matter what culture it belongs to. If the Saudis were more democratic and actually listened to people, perhaps we would've had a better design.

my sentiments exactly. english heritage forbade any office building to be built high enough to be seen from the confines of the tower of london but this never stopped london from building skyscrapers as they built them elsewhere.

i would imagine if you were standing in the middle of the mosque, these towers would draw focus away from the kaaba itself.

Anxious Traveler
May 26, 2009, 12:50 AM
Hope this is an appropriate place to post this... You can see a ghosted Abraj Al-Bait Towers in the background of the video.

http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=763&storycode=3140848&c=1

The very ending of the video is horrible in my mind. It is a proposal to eventually replace the entire mosque with this new "plan." All of the history, beauty, and religious significance (excluding the actual Kabba) would be completely destroyed. Do they not realize how holly and historic that structure is? It's like tearing down Vatican City and making a more modern and larger one, completely destroying the beauty and history.

Aleks
May 26, 2009, 3:45 AM
I don't think that tearing it down is a proposal. The only proposal is the small wing next to the doors. Personally I find the development of this new wing better than nothing and probably better than any other proposal.

But I do agree that replacing the entire mosque is too much. Even if they do in fact end up rebuilding it somewhere else.

jbr12
May 26, 2009, 9:41 AM
At the end of the video, it mentions that this design proposal is only phase 1. It then continues to show removal of the existing buildings and these double height structures surrounding the ring... however please note this quote:

Atkins has confirmed it is no longer among the practices pitching for the development to increase the capacity of the Saudi Arabia mosque

That doesn't mean the other 12 firms aren't still moving forward with proposals tho.

Early reports suggested that 13 practices were competing for the project, including Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and Faber Maunsell.

Pizzuti
May 26, 2009, 9:49 PM
I'm interested in seeing what these proposals are. More height is good I think; better than tearing down the walls of the current mosque. Better to see OVER them than eliminate them. I think the best design would be something like a tiered structure (as the current design is 2 tiers; the next one would have 3 or more and each one would be taller so the higher levels have a good view), that could eventually wrap around the current mosque but doesn't entail tearing down parts of the mosque and has very similar architecture to the mosque. It could have an old-fashioned facade but still have really modern amenities (especially on the outer part) like elevators (perhaps glass elevators), fountains and pools.

Ideally it would also have room for growth; they could make it strong enough to build additional levels as needed. Hey, it might even be used to block views from these skyscrapers that are supposed to go up all around.

I'm not saying that is the best thing to do, but I think one thing is clear: the "intimacy" of the current mosque will someday be lost as expansion is a requirement. It's gonna be huge, always proportional to the global Muslim population and their wealth (because the wealthier they are the more often they will do the hajj and increase the numbers there during a given year). There can be smaller mosques around for locals or for more intimate experiences there, but the main one is going to end up being huge.

leftopolis
May 26, 2009, 10:01 PM
Pizzuti:

Here's a pic of a proposal--not sure if it has anything to do with the video--it doesn't have anything to do with changing the Al Haram(sp?) Mosque(which can be seen on the left edge of the pic). It's scheduled to go behind the Abraj Al Bait--which is conspicuously missing in the render.

http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/9340/makkah6764740.jpg
http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/9340/makkah6764740.jpg

Aleks
May 26, 2009, 10:15 PM
Those canyons between the skyscrapers look kinda cool. I imagine these buildings will be flowing with people.

Pizzuti
May 26, 2009, 11:44 PM
Yikes!!! I gotta admit I don't like that architecture at all, it's a bit Star Wars. And I don't like the idea of eliminating streets in a city to replace them with enclosed spaces. Streets are nice.

But the hugeness of it is impressive at least.

Imagine living in one of the small buildings at the base of that thing!

leftopolis
May 27, 2009, 12:33 AM
The project is called: Darb Al-Khalil...if anybody wanted to look up more info. Here's another render which shows it up close at street level and with [the back of] Abraj Al Bait, in the background. I know, the first pic doesn't seem to show a street--maybe it's just various ideas of the same proposal.

http://img478.imageshack.us/img478/5027/35476253bf7.jpg
http://img478.imageshack.us/img478/5027/35476253bf7.jpg

And from HOK: http://www.hok.com/xml/work/project/DarbAl-KhalilDevelopment_TOR/images/1_1.jpg
http://www.hok.com/xml/work/project/DarbAl-KhalilDevelopment_TOR/images/1_1.jpg

leftopolis
May 27, 2009, 5:50 AM
OK, I think I figured out my confusion regarding the two proposals and the different look...They are two different proposals for two adjacent locations. The first pic (star wars-ish, w/ deep narrow canyons between bulildings), is Rawabi Abraj Al-BAit. It's the one scheduled for directly behind the massive Abraj Al-Bait(which this thread is about)! The second two pics(mostly shorter towers, surrounded by a road), are Darb Al-Khalil. In fact, in the HOK pic of Darb Al-Khalil, one can see an adjacent plot of bare land--that's where Rawabi Abraj Al-BAit, is expected to be built.

Hopefully, that didn't add to the confusion.:shrug:

TANGELD_SLC
May 28, 2009, 5:51 AM
I may have passed the info over somewhere, but how many people are these new towers along with Abraj Al-Brait supposed to accommodate? Are they mostly for pilgrims or will there be alot of new residences built as well?

leftopolis
May 28, 2009, 9:15 AM
I may have passed the info over somewhere, but how many people are these new towers along with Abraj Al-Brait supposed to accommodate? Are they mostly for pilgrims or will there be alot of new residences built as well?

From what I understand, a little of both. Saudi Arabia's population is growing rapidly, including that of Mecca...Which looks to have grown in recent decades, even faster than Phoenix, AZ: From World Gazeteer (http://www.world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=&men=gpro&lng=en&des=wg&geo=-185&srt=pnan&col=abcdefghinoq&msz=1500&pt=c&va=&geo=401169982):

1974 366,801 census
1992 952,429 census
2004 1,294,168 census
2009 1,453,533 estimate

Mecca's economy primarily revolves around the Hajj...3-4 million pilgrims come into town...

As Hajj begins, more changes and challenges in store (http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/as_hajj_begins_more_changes_and_challenges_in_store/)


With concerns about safety at hajj ritual sites and substandard accomodation, the Saudis are working overtime to improve both, and in doing so, may change hajj forever

By Zahed Amanullah, December 12, 2006

Muslim pilgrims from around the world began boarding their flights, ships, and buses this week for Hajj 1427 AH (after hijra), a hajj following years of tragedies that culminated with last year's stampede at the jamarat bridge (killing nearly 350) and the collapse of a hostel housing pilgrims (killing 76). Both issues have weighed heavily on the minds of the Saudi government and aspiring pilgrims, so it's no surprise that big changes are in store for the current crop of visitors.

Immediately after last year's hajj, the old bridge was demolished and work began on a new 4-level bridge, with 2 of the levels opening last week, along with two new tunnels. In addition, helicopters will be used to monitor movement, along with renewed emphasis on crowd management (to supplement the mutaween).

Like the Saudis or not, the hajj is one of the world's most profound logistical challenges, with well over 2 million pilgrims expected this year, due in part to the increasing affordability of the trip to Muslims worldwide. As such, the hajj quota has increased in several countries, with an estimated 25,000 Muslim pilgrims from Britain, many of whom are taking advantage of this year's corellation with the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

With more pilgrims comes concerns about disease, and there are new calls to make flu shots mandatory, as polio and meningitis ones currently are. And as before, the continued incorporation of technology has both helped pilgrims (e-sacrifices, podcasts, and viewing the entire site in Google Earth's high resolution) and hurt them (mobile phone ringtones at the kaaba?).

As for accommodations, more travellers are demanding luxury in addition to safety. This year, the 80-story Abraj Al Bait, shopping and residential complex can now be seen just south of the haram, part of the vast construction in the area spurred by the recent liberalisation of foreign ownership of residences. Though many of these building projects are highly controversial, with much of the 1km radius of the haram razed this century, the demand for improving the housing stock from pilgrims continues unabated.

yascool
May 28, 2009, 4:33 PM
guys now its very nice place and i think i doesn't feel you Confused or annoying you because there will be a lot of ppl there and some thing like that i guess that will be not big problem but generally its good 70 - 80 % very good Thanks for you all nice because we are looking for some thing good in the internet like that and i wanna some people more to pm my email is yas_2005_5@hotmail.com i need some one to pm me support me i really need some help from some one know a lot of thing about skyscrapers(architect.) i know i talking a lot so thanks all but when you send a message to me show engineer word or some thing of the name of the message to know .

Tom In Chicago
May 28, 2009, 4:49 PM
^Well that was /almost/ a sentance. . . j/k welcome to the forums. . .:cool:

JDRCRASH
May 28, 2009, 7:14 PM
Those renders are nice.:)

malec
Jun 19, 2009, 11:58 PM
Updates

some great shots for Abraj Al-Bait

Friday 12 Jun 2009
by 'asyiqul^huur' (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29070131@N02/)

http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/391/image052p.jpg

http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/7937/image056a.jpg

http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/4231/image058o.jpg

http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/4371/image062d.jpg

http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/1/image067l.jpg

http://img265.imageshack.us/img265/8048/image074p.jpg

http://img265.imageshack.us/img265/9346/image077y.jpg

http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/6808/image079c.jpg

Aleks
Jun 20, 2009, 12:53 AM
The renderings make it look really fat but it's pretty decently proportioned.

Saddle Man
Jun 20, 2009, 2:11 AM
.

uaarkson
Jun 20, 2009, 3:13 AM
Lol, damn, there are a lot of American cars in Saudi Arabia o_O

JACKinBeantown
Jun 26, 2009, 4:54 PM
Nice photos. That's a huge complex.

View2saintmartin
Jun 26, 2009, 5:23 PM
What a POS. Ridiculous in every aspect. Mecca: the Casino/Hotel.

But very nice pics ;)

R@ptor
Jun 26, 2009, 7:22 PM
How tall is it now? 350m?

leftopolis
Jun 29, 2009, 8:38 AM
Wow! It's really looking majestic(despite the nearby construction ruble). The progress is impressive, too--the whole area is practically an instant urban jungle.

Northwest
Jun 30, 2009, 7:27 PM
Does anyone know what the price tag is on the whole project in US dollars?
Is it all hotel, or are there some permanant private residences here?

Starsky
Aug 5, 2009, 8:22 AM
Seems like a tacky, supersized Las Vegas Casino, with a giant evil moon symbol at the top. I could care less whether its built ontop of some sacred site, the country is a tyranny anyways. The whole point is, this thing wouldn't look good in any city! I mean even in Vegas it wouldn't look right. But if they want to make Mecca ugly, than by all means go ahead!

malec
Aug 10, 2009, 6:12 PM
Culwulla's diagram:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3422/3793677932_68af204cbf_o.jpg


Progress over 1 year:

by 'asyiqul^huur (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29070131@N02/)

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3447/3718696136_1d02bf20b3_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3451/3717879075_de60b1657d_o.jpg

looks like the thread in the supertall forum is closed by the way !

Aleks
Aug 11, 2009, 4:43 AM
Damn, that's gonna be a big ass clock! What's that egg-like looking thing at the base of the spire? Also, where does the "official" roof end? Will there be habitable floors above the giant clock?

kenratboy
Aug 12, 2009, 3:10 AM
Damn, that's gonna be a big ass clock! What's that egg-like looking thing at the base of the spire? Also, where does the "official" roof end? Will there be habitable floors above the giant clock?

Hmmm, I smell product placement. IWC, Patek, Lange, Breguet - the possibilities are endless!

sammyg
Aug 13, 2009, 4:41 PM
Hmmm, I smell product placement. IWC, Patek, Lange, Breguet - the possibilities are endless!

As awful as that would be, I wouldn't put it past the same people who demolished buildings from the time of The Prophet to put this up.

Dylan Leblanc
Aug 16, 2009, 7:51 PM
here is a nice rendering from the Dubai Chronicle. does anyone know what the writing at the top of the tower says?

http://www.dubaichronicle.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/an-artist-render-of-emaar-residences-at-abraj-al-bait.jpg?d
http://www.dubaichronicle.com/business/property/emaar-unveils-serviced-residences-at-abraj-al-bait-in-makkah-1509

vandelay
Aug 16, 2009, 8:05 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/Moskau_Uni.jpg
(Moscow University)

I'm sorry if someone has already made the connection between the Abraj Al-Bait towers and Stalinist Architecture. I'm sure it wasn't the intent of the Saudis to mirror the authoritarian style.

JDRCRASH
Aug 16, 2009, 9:54 PM
What's that egg-like looking thing at the base of the spire?

I wouldn't be surprised it was an observation deck.

bassem
Aug 22, 2009, 11:49 AM
the writing at the top is the word ALLAH (GOD)

malec
Sep 20, 2009, 10:19 AM
A little old but anyway:

[QUOTE=Saudi guy;41833396]24/8/2009
Full Size (http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/4524/p1080477.jpg)
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zulf_kar97
Oct 20, 2009, 3:25 PM
Hi all, intersting to see the discussion on this building. I attach a close up of the building, taken from the entrance ramp that leads into the Mall from the ground floor.

The architecture close up is quite interesting, that and the colour difference between the central building (darker material) and the building to the left (the ZamZam Tower I think, kinda sandy colour).

Photo was taken in December 2006, during that years Hajj (pilgrimage). I stayed in the ZamZam Tower hotel for 1 night - it cost £420 at the time, equivalent to about $650 with exchange rate at that time.

Inside the hotel was pretty high standard, rooms were top notch quality. So even 3 years ago one of the towers was operational (fully or partly I don't know).

Oh, and the key thing was when you walked into the Mall their were lots of Sales Reps harassing you (once they figured you might have some money!). Basically the offers were

1\ Time-Share use by one of the buildings
2\ Other building was based on apartments/suites with 25 year lets

Recently I've seen adverts in the local press advertising those 'to-let' apartments at around £415,000 for 25 years. Awfully expensive for something you won't own after the 25 years!

Anyway I'm giong back shortly and will bring back some updated photographs in late Nov/early Dec. This time I have a much better camera and won't be so conscious of taking photos!
http://www.xpressnet.eu/images/abraj.jpg

Cro Burnham
Oct 22, 2009, 5:13 PM
I'm not a religious guy, but the overpowering mass and cartoonish Vegas-style of this building strikes me as the worst form of hubris and an utter affront to the historical and spiritual heart of the Islamic world.

Vegas is an affront too, of course, but, thank god, they built it in an abandoned moonscape hundreds of miles from anything else.

Pizzuti
Oct 22, 2009, 5:30 PM
I'm not a religious guy, but the overpowering mass and cartoonish Vegas-style of this building strikes me as the worst form of hubris and an utter affront to the historical and spiritual heart of the Islamic world.

Vegas is an affront too, of course, but, thank god, they built it in an abandoned moonscape hundreds of miles from anything else.

I think that's because it's new. We tend to assign spiritual value to things that are very old and commercial value to things that are new.

Saint Peter's Cathedral was probably thought of as decadent by some when it was built, but today people appreciate it. Perhaps in 100 years or so this will be seen as a spiritually powerful building, and if not by then, then afterward.

TANGELD_SLC
Oct 23, 2009, 6:52 AM
I think that with time, say, 100+ years, this building will be more respected. Let it collect a little history and it'll become a beloved landmark. The Eiffel tower started out highly disliked. 120 years later, it's one of the French People's most beloved symbols. The same could be true for this complex in the muslim world's mind.

Indescribable
Oct 25, 2009, 1:36 AM
I'm sorry if someone has already made the connection between the Abraj Al-Bait towers and Stalinist Architecture. I'm sure it wasn't the intent of the Saudis to mirror the authoritarian style.

They do look similar.

Smiley Person
Oct 30, 2009, 6:54 PM
Hi all, intersting to see the discussion on this building. I attach a close up of the building, taken from the entrance ramp that leads into the Mall from the ground floor.

It's a nice touch that the windows are operable. Is that true for the whole building?

malec
Nov 8, 2009, 9:50 AM
Update

November 4, 2009

Hajj season has begun
and pilgrims from all over the world has started pouring in.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2760/4076670268_e178df04a1_o.jpg
photo by : 'asyiqul^huur

Pizzuti
Nov 9, 2009, 1:16 AM
Eh, that does really mess up the view, doesn't it?

Oh well. When there is a whole ring of supertall skyscrapers around the Grand Mosque this will be more in perspective.

Crush_Buds
Nov 9, 2009, 7:33 AM
The view? Of the sky? Lol.

I agree that this is probably the first of many tall buildings to be put up in the area, and I also think it's a brilliant move to make such a massive structure to house one of the biggest annual/year-round gatherings of people on the planet.

I really like this beast of a structure.

Pizzuti
Nov 9, 2009, 4:16 PM
But one of the strong themes you see all across Islam is that Mosques are supposed to be extremely serene and you're supposed to be extremely focused on prayer.

The whole argument for keeping men and women separated by a screen is that being in the presence of the opposite gender is distracting, and separation ads to the serenity.

I'm not sure exactly why this mosque was left open, but I've always assumed it's because it was simply too expensive to build a massive dome, and pointless since Mecca is very dry and usually cloudless anyway, so why not open it up to the blue sky during Hajj time?

The Masjid-al-Haram is in the middle of a city, but I'd still guess that there is a kind of haunted silence when you're standing in the middle of that open space when it is empty. Not any longer, though. Now it'll be a bustling city, surrounded by skyscrapers - you're in Times Square! What's next, big TV screens on the skyscrapers flashing McDonald's advertisements?

I know that massive skyscrapers and development lends itself to the feeling of "energy" that a lot of us get excited about when we picture millions and millions of people filling the mosque and pouring in from surrounding hotels and prayer rooms. But I think our sense might be a little contrary to what the mosque is about.

I've been defending this project for a while on the grounds that few of us commenting here are Muslim, so we don't really know if the religion would favor an isolated prayer site or a busy, integrated prayer site. After seeing that picture, though, I think I sort of switch sides, considering how much sky view is actually taken up by buildings.

SkyscrapersOfNewYork
Nov 9, 2009, 11:19 PM
its horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Crush_Buds
Nov 10, 2009, 9:16 AM
I highly doubt the monarchy would ever allow neon signage in the vicinity.

Be it an exaggeration or not, Mecca will modernize and I think the sanctity of the site will always be the first priority when considering development. Sure, it maybe striking or imposing when first seen, but I don't think that a building will distract Islam's followers from devout prayer.

Zerton
Nov 10, 2009, 6:28 PM
what is up with the tents on top... :yuck:

huggkruka
Nov 14, 2009, 9:44 PM
The construction photo (on pg. 22) of the hotel towering over the Kaba is just insane.

leftopolis
Nov 15, 2009, 2:11 AM
what is up with the tents on top... :yuck:

Having seen an up-close image of some of the "tents"...They appear to be outdoor/rooftop seating areas of some sort. This type of canvas roofing is quite common, particularly in large outdoor gathering places.

Remember, the average temperature for Mecca is high year-round and shade is welcome! Even in November, average temps are 94F and 73F for the low. Record highs are 100F+ for every month of the year except January. Average Number of Days/Year Above 90F/32C: 298!
http://www.weatherbase.com - Mecca (http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3?s=3014&refer=)

From that perspective, it might be a good thing to have a giant skycraper shadow for the crowds of pilgrims.

Crush_Buds
Nov 16, 2009, 11:21 AM
Silly. But if you close an eye and flip off the computer with your left hand...it matches/covers up the last pic really well!! Too funny. :haha:


Makes me like this thing even more.

:notacrook:

malec
Nov 23, 2009, 10:59 PM
At night. The size of this thing is just ridiculous.

Nice pics by SAUD, if they were just at day time to observe the cladding progress :)

http://img188.imageshack.us/img188/8042/3898505757e0a6cc672fb.jpg

http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/585/4101965072df92f6b95db.jpg

shakman
Nov 24, 2009, 1:59 AM
Good development... ...wrong place for it.

pablosan
Nov 28, 2009, 5:47 AM
Interesting concept.

steveve
Nov 29, 2009, 4:55 AM
This is a HUGE development (and building)!

Not only is it tall but it's HUGE!!!!... i mean HUGE!!!!

It's hard to believe how tall it really is due to the large scale of things!... you can't see the scale of the buildings by the photos... you have to compare it with something else!

Even considering there are so few floors, you can't get the scale of things!
:cheers:

Patrick
Nov 29, 2009, 6:18 AM
No doubt it's an impressive project but it's location is just so awkward, pressed up against those neighboring highrises, it's all so alien looking. The other skyscrapers are so crammed in together I can only imagine how awful the views will be, but like I said, it is impressive.

leftopolis
Nov 29, 2009, 10:33 AM
No doubt it's an impressive project but it's location is just so awkward, pressed up against those neighboring highrises, it's all so alien looking. The other skyscrapers are so crammed in together I can only imagine how awful the views will be, but like I said, it is impressive.

I'm not clear on what you mean about it being pressed up against neighboring high-rises..."It" and "the high-rises" are essentially one building--there's one common podium for the whole cluster.

Chelsea Spy
Nov 29, 2009, 1:14 PM
this is probably the ugliest skyscraper in the world and an awful violation of an ancient city of incomparable historic importance - imagine building something like that next to the Vatican...

Dylan Leblanc
Nov 30, 2009, 2:33 AM
Images from - http://www.mujahideenryder.net/2009/11/20/abraj-al-bait-of-mecca-2nd-largest-tower-in-the-world/#more-3638

http://www.mujahideenryder.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/abraj-al-bayt-second-largest-towers.png

http://www.mujahideenryder.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/abraj-al-bayt-second-largest-towers.jpg

Spocket
Nov 30, 2009, 12:16 PM
That thing makes kittens cry.

shakman
Nov 30, 2009, 8:04 PM
That thing makes kittens cry.

Seeing that monstrosity next to our holiest shrine makes me cry. For those who are Muslim, do not forget that the Prophet (PBUH) predicted a competition for buildings to reach the sky. What better to have as such then in Mecca.

Aleks
Nov 30, 2009, 10:26 PM
The building it's self actually grew onto me a lot. It fascinates me to see such a large structure and so close to each other!

I do agree however that it should be father from the mosque. Maybe a kilometer away with train lines running to-and-from the mosque. This will definitely add more capacity to surrounding hotels though. Or it'll just be a gateway for the rich to come more and more. Although I think the first one is more likely.

CalibratedZeus
Dec 1, 2009, 1:49 AM
The building it's self actually grew onto me a lot. It fascinates me to see such a large structure and so close to each other!

I do agree however that it should be father from the mosque. Maybe a kilometer away with train lines running to-and-from the mosque. This will definitely add more capacity to surrounding hotels though. Or it'll just be a gateway for the rich to come more and more. Although I think the first one is more likely.

In this first image, you see the Masjid al Haram as the large white area, the tower just south of it.
http://distinctdisadvantage.comuv.com/diagrams/mecca.jpg

Now, about 5 KM to the east, you see this...
http://distinctdisadvantage.comuv.com/diagrams/tents.jpg
A GIANT tent city that houses many during their pilgrimage. Pretty much all of those tents can be moved into the Abraj Al-Bait. A great space saver, but like you said, it should definitely be further away from the Masjid al Haram.

Pizzuti
Dec 1, 2009, 2:17 AM
Okay, it's when I see that flier advertising "24-hour butler service" and "1 suite being 36,000 sq meters" that I really think that the decadence here really contrasts with the image and message of the Masjid-al-Haram.

Isn't one of the major aspects of the Hajj supposed to be that everyone is equal? You could be a multi-billionaire or a poor farmer from Bangladesh, but when you're circumambulating the Kabba, all of that is gone. Everyone looks and is totally equal during the hajj.

Not so in this building. There's automatically a differentiation between the janitors and cooks and the rich people who they cater to, and there are expensive suites and cheap suites. That is the way most of the world works, but it certainly changes what the hajj is about. I wonder if most pilgrims will even be able to afford to come in to this thing.

TXAlex
Dec 1, 2009, 4:57 AM
this is probably the ugliest skyscraper in the world and an awful violation of an ancient city of incomparable historic importance - imagine building something like that next to the Vatican...

That's a great idea! It would fit right in! When will it be built?

Regardless Mecca could use a second complex like this maybe even 4 more.

Patrick
Dec 2, 2009, 5:49 AM
I'm not clear on what you mean about it being pressed up against neighboring high-rises..."It" and "the high-rises" are essentially one building--there's one common podium for the whole cluster.

I mean the highrises directly adjacent to the podium, the ones that aren't a part of the project, there's literally no space between them and the Abraj Al-Bait Towers.

MeZo0o0o0_720
Dec 20, 2009, 9:03 PM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2639/3968246860_0d5930cc11_b.jpg


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2450/3964571199_3240a3ab14_b.jpg


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2788/4197734900_735ac951a7_b.jpg


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2547/4177136962_27e45876fb_b.jpg

malec
Jan 3, 2010, 11:36 AM
New diagram showing progress

going on recent pix and my diagram i did 6 weeks ago, i think tower has reached main roof level at 390m?80fl
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2642/4117946629_6836dacd2f_o.jpg

Onieros
Jan 8, 2010, 2:35 PM
Okay, it's when I see that flier advertising "24-hour butler service" and "1 suite being 36,000 sq meters" that I really think that the decadence here really contrasts with the image and message of the Masjid-al-Haram.

Isn't one of the major aspects of the Hajj supposed to be that everyone is equal? You could be a multi-billionaire or a poor farmer from Bangladesh, but when you're circumambulating the Kabba, all of that is gone. Everyone looks and is totally equal during the hajj.

Not so in this building. There's automatically a differentiation between the janitors and cooks and the rich people who they cater to, and there are expensive suites and cheap suites. That is the way most of the world works, but it certainly changes what the hajj is about. I wonder if most pilgrims will even be able to afford to come in to this thing.

I'm glad someone else noticed this. The Holy Qu'ran is replete with admonitions to the rich to not forgo their charitable duties to the less fortunate, so that those who are wealthy can live in emulation of the Prophet's charitable efforts on behalf of humanity to be the Messenger. But this concept seems to fly in the face of that strong invocation.

I love the idea of a epic structure that can inflame the breast with pride...this is worth ten Burj Dubai's in terms of monument. As such, it can either be interpreted by the faithful as a modern-day Islamic "Vatican" in terms of messaging the power of 'faith' as wrought into an edifice of cathedralic grandeur...(after all, how many supertalls have "GOD" written on their pinnacle?)...or it can be seen as the "Las Vegasization" of the hajj experience and Mecca. Much depends on how the Saud culture/government 'markets' this: will it be mosque, or will it be 'Caesar's Palace'?

It's definitely going to impact the Hajj experience for 'First World' Muslims and the elitists of the many Islamic nations. Unfortunately, few will forgo the opulence offered and choose to mingle with the 'sand'...to those who do, may the Prophet (pbuh) be their inspiration and may Allah bestow gracious blessings...

wong21fr
Jan 8, 2010, 4:14 PM
Is this structure even meant for Muslims from developed nations? For such a massive structure having only 1,100 guest rooms/suites I'm going to venture that it is meant as a home away from home for members of the various Arab monarchies than for anyone else. I'm sure that a level of piousness will be maintained, but now it only has to be maintained upon exiting the Al-Bait to walk with the Hajj masses into the Grand Mosque.

Lecom
Jan 8, 2010, 6:39 PM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2642/...36dacd2f_o.jpg

That's a horribly tiny observation deck in the center of what is, quite literally, the Mecca for worldwide visitors. Why not also dedicate a regular sized floor to a main observation level?

Troubadour
Jan 10, 2010, 1:10 PM
What a pompous monstrosity. :yuck:

PhxPavilion
Jan 11, 2010, 9:04 AM
All this for belief. Why not just build a stairway to heaven. :rolleyes:

KevinFromTexas
Jan 11, 2010, 10:33 AM
Whoa. It sort of has a Las Vegas quality to it, doesn't it? I'd hate to have to walk around that thing looking for the entrance!

JManc
Jan 11, 2010, 4:33 PM
I
http://www.mujahideenryder.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/abraj-al-bayt-second-largest-towers.png

that thing dwarfs even the burj bubai. and only 1000 hotels rooms? seems awfully small for such a massive facility. the 614' (187 m) wynn in vegas has twice as many.

OneWorldTradeCenter
Jan 11, 2010, 4:35 PM
Why says this picture it will be 530m high????

JManc
Jan 11, 2010, 4:43 PM
the clock will.

kenratboy
Jan 12, 2010, 4:58 AM
How can there be only 1,000 rooms!? Seems like 5,000 would be easy, if not more.

Pandemonious
Jan 12, 2010, 7:13 AM
dp

Pandemonious
Jan 12, 2010, 7:18 AM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2639/3968246860_0d5930cc11_b.jpg


I see the roof of the lower building(s) is trying pretty hard to reuse/ripoff the design concept of the King Abdul Aziz International Airport Hajj Terminal Roof by SOM... ugh.. this building is such a clusterfuck. What a total monstrosity..

JDRCRASH
Jan 12, 2010, 7:19 AM
The only real thing i'm looking forward to in this project is this "chocolate room".....

R@ptor
Jan 12, 2010, 7:45 AM
that thing dwarfs even the burj bubai. and only 1000 hotels rooms? seems awfully small for such a massive facility. the 614' (187 m) wynn in vegas has twice as many.

Hotel rooms make up only a part of the tower. There will also be thousands of residential units and the entire lower part of it is made up of giant shopping malls, conference centers, etc.

Besides the diagram has an incorrect scale. On it the Abraj al Bait appears to be 675-680m instead of 595m it is in reality.

redwhiteblack
Jan 12, 2010, 12:41 PM
The corrupted Wahabi Saudi Royal family have destroyed the Prophet's home along with other ancient sites to build multi-billion dollar skyscrapers. It goes against everything this area represented and looks completely out of place. Can you imagine a monster like this being built on the doorstep of the Christian Vatican??

Islamic architecture had always been innovative and tasteful, from Moorish Spain to Ottoman Turkey, now we have Saudi Royals drunk on oil putting up this insult....

"He said: 'Tell me about its signs'. The Prophet (pbuh) replied: '.....you shall see these bare footed, naked, and poor shepherds [of Arabia] competing with each other in making high buildings'"

What better place than on the doorstep of Makkah.

Everybody please read this: http://www.petitiononline.com/ma363724/petition.html

M.K.
Jan 12, 2010, 1:01 PM
The building complex is totally 100% OK, very nice btw, different, plausible, a mix of London and Moscow together, even with the closer religious thing, IF WERE complete in middle a huge park/roads with space. The problem is the other tide uninteresting millions midrises too close in the dramatic caos neighborhood. I am Ok with the complex if were in wider empty space among the constructions there.