A sacred place in transition. Together with the White Sky Group, Gewers Pudewill won the competitive tender for the extensive urban expansion of the holy city of Mecca.

PlaceMecca, Saudi Arabia
ProjectMaster planning in Mecca
ClientJadwa Investment
DesignWhite Sky Group I Gewers Pudewill
Scope of workMaster planning, object studies
Sizeapprox. 6.000.000 sqm
Award1. Prize 2012
TeamArchitects in charge Tilman Richter-von Senfft, Jim Bath
VisualisationEVE Images

This was achieved competing against prominent international names, such as Lord Norman Foster. As part of the large-scale, ground-breaking project, circa 160,000 residents will find accommodations on 91 hectares of land with 6 million square metres of floor space. The ever-increasing flow of pilgrims and the immense draw of the holy sites made the strategic enlargement of the city inevitable. This is the largest extension in Mecca’s history, not only as a pilgrimage site but also as a growing metropolis.

In doing so, the project responded to real needs and did not attempt to create an artificial demand during and after creation. The planning included all the aspects of a lively, urban district, such as an innovative transport system, residential apartments, hotels, mosques, health centres, shopping facilities, parks and more. This was naturally done using the latest technology in the areas of mobility, energy efficiency and sustainability.

With extreme topographical conditions and the very special historical and religious contexts in mind, it was important to find designs and forms that fit the Arab cultural area. It had to correspond to the mountainous and barren landscape and not take attention away from the Kaaba. Even after confidently fulfilling the architectural demands on design, humility and reverence towards the actual spirit of the place should always be the focus.