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Mecca to Build the World's Largest Hotel

Mecca has unveiled plans to build the world's largest hotel by 2017. The 10,000-room Abraj Kudai hotel will be built in the Manafia district, just south of the Grand Mosque. It will be a city within a city, hosting 70 restaurants, food courts, a bus station, shopping mall, conference center, ballroom and five floors dedicated entirely to the Saudi royal family; all will be set within a cluster of 12 towers standing atop a 10-story podium and centered around a massive dome.


  • Architects: HOK
  • Location: Riyadh Saudi Arabia
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Alan Karchmer

© Alan Karchmer © Alan Karchmer © Alan Karchmer © Alan Karchmer


  • Architects: HOK
  • Location: Riyadh Saudi Arabia
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Abdulrahman Alolyan

© Abdulrahman Alolyan © Abdulrahman Alolyan © Abdulrahman Alolyan © Abdulrahman Alolyan

Foster + Partners Chosen to Design New Transport System for Jeddah

© Foster + Partners
© Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners has been appointed through an international competition to develop the “architectural vision” for Jeddah’s city-wide public transport plan. The commission, made official today by the Makkah Province governor, seeks to establish a “long-term, sustainable” city network plan that will foster flexible growth and achieve efficiency through the integration of all modes of transportation, including metro, ferry, bus and cycle.

“The comprehensive plan extends from the design of the stations to the trains and branding,” said Foster + Partners. “In addition, the development of the metro system will create a new urban amenity for the city of Jeddah at key locations below the elevated track.” The masterplan will also allocate space for public squares and various nodes of development.

Foster + Partners Selected for $12 Billion Metro Project in Jeddah

According to the Architects' Journal, Foster + Partners has been selected to design all 46 stations of the new $12 billion metro system in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - a commission that could earn the practice up to £100 million ($160 million) in fees. Planned for a 2020 completion date and a 2022 opening, the metro project aims to remove 30% of Jeddah's traffic within the next 20 years, a significant goal as until now public transport has not been popular: currently just one or two percent of commuters in the city use public transport.

Rafael de La-Hoz Arquitectos Takes a Page Out of the Quran to Design a Natural Oasis

Drawing both literal and theoretical inspiration from the Islamic Holy Book, Rafael de La-Hoz Arquitectos earned an Honourable Mention for their design proposal of a habitable natural oasis for the Noble Quran International Competition in Saudi Arabia.

Understanding the significance of the location’s proximity to Islam’s second holiest city and the Capital of Islamic Culture, Rafael de La-Hoz aimed to create a memorable and iconic Islamic Landmark. Therefore, the Quran itself was chosen as the primary source of physical and contextual understanding, the most significant vessel of knowledge for the people and the location.

Courtesy of Rafael de La-Hoz Arquitectos Courtesy of Rafael de La-Hoz Arquitectos Courtesy of Rafael de La-Hoz Arquitectos Courtesy of Rafael de La-Hoz Arquitectos

Erick van Egeraat Designs Pedestrianized City Center in Saudi Arabia

Erick van Egeraat have released images of their design for the city center of Unayzah in Saudi Arabia. Thanks to a 4-lane ring road and an underground thoroughfare linking to underground parking, the 58 hectare site will be entirely pedestrianized at ground level, featuring 70,000 square meters of shopping areas, a gold market, apartments, and offices, all of which will join the city's existing central mosque.

More on the city center design after the break

Ricardo Bofill's Winning Proposal for the The Noble Qur'an Oasis Competition

Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura and Gerber Architekten have tied for first place in a competition to design a cultural and civic Islamic center in Saudi Arabia, beating several well known international competitors, including Zaha Hadid Architects and gmp Architekten. The ultimate winner will be announced at a later date.

Ricardo Bofill's proposal for the center, which is meant to foster the research, study and transmission of the Qur'an, takes geometric inspiration from traditional Islamic cities:

"The first Islamic city had a circular plan, with all spaces being enclosed in the circle representing the elemental symbol of unity and the ultimate source of diversity in creation. This traditional city, or rather the idea of this city, serves as the base and the essence for the creation of the Islamic modern city. Such a background has led us to choose a circular concept as the main representational shape of the project for The Noble Qur'an Oasis. This unique civic and cultural landmark, with its sleek, minimalist design, is a symbolic container where the Islamic science and culture will be displayed."

Read the architect's description of their design, after the break.  

Noble Qur'an Oasis in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura Noble Qur'an Oasis in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura Noble Qur'an Oasis in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura Noble Qur'an Oasis in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura

Mega-Tall Skyscrapers Herald Economic Depression, Says Barclays

The world economy has endured a series of crises over the past century, and architecture has recently been recognized as a harbinger of these crises. Two years ago, British finance group Barclays released an index of skyscraper construction projects that correlate with the occurrence of economic downturns since 1873. Many of the tallest buildings in the world have been built at times of severe economic struggle, the most recent being Dubai's Burj Khalifa, built during the Great Recession of 2007 through 2010. According to Barclays, "the world’s tallest buildings are simply the edifice of a broader skyscraper building boom, reflecting a widespread misallocation of capital and an impending economic correction."

All the major financial crises in the past century, and the buildings that predicted them after the break...

Construction Slated to Begin on 1km Kingdom Tower

Work on Kingdom Tower is moving forward, as above-ground construction is slated to begin April 27. Rising over 1000 meters (3,280 feet), the $1.2 billion skyscraper is expected to be the world’s tallest, surpassing the 828 meter tall Burj Khalifa upon completion in 2017.

Museum of the Built Environment / FXFOWLE Architects

The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is a new 55-million-square-foot mixed-use urban community in Riyadh. Among its public buildings under construction is FXFOWLE Architects’ Museum of the Built Environment (MOBE), which explores the role of social, economic, and environmental issues in the development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the larger region. The museum will exhibit works related to the history of the arts and architecture on the Arabian peninsula, as well as document trends in sustainable thinking and their role in the future of the built environment. The museum puts the traditionally private culture of Saudi Arabia on display, creating a building for residents and visitors.

Baroque Parking Garage / Milan Mijalkovic + PPAG architects

  • Architects: Milan Mijalkovic , PPAG architects
  • Location: Skopje, Macedonia (FYROM)
  • Design garage: Goricanka Architects Skopje
  • Structural Engineering Façade: Nace Gicevski
  • Construction Garage: Granit Construction Stock Co.
  • Construction Façade: TORAX a.d. Skopje
  • Area: 3550.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Darko Hristov

© Darko Hristov © Darko Hristov © Darko Hristov © Darko Hristov

Muqarnas Tower / SOM

  • Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  • Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Design Partner: Roger Duffy, FAIA
  • Managing Partner: Peter Magill, AIA
  • Project Manager: Joseph Ruocco, AIA
  • Senior Design Architect: Scott Duncan, AIA
  • Design Architect: Jackie Wong, AIA
  • Area: 890000.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: SOM


Zaha Hadid Architects Selected to Design the King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station in Saudi Arabia

In order to serve its rapidly expanding population of more than five million, the ArRiyadh Development Authority has commissioned Zaha Hadid Architects to construct the new King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Metro Station in its capital city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

With six platforms over four public floors and two levels of underground car parking, the KAFD Metro Station will be integrated within the urban context of the financial district, while responding to the functional requirements for a multimodal transport centre and the district’s future vision. The project extends beyond the simple station typology to emphasize the building’s importance as a dynamic, multi-functional public space; not only an intermediate place perceived through quick transitions, but also a dramatic public space for the city.

Takhassussi Patchi Shop / Lautrefabrique Architectes

  • Architects: Lautrefabrique Architectes
  • Location: Takhassussi Avenue, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Architect in Charge: Jean-Pascal Crouzet & Julien Mermet-Bouvier
  • General Contractor: Dal Al Arabia
  • Area: 707.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Luc Boegly

© Luc Boegly © Luc Boegly © Luc Boegly © Luc Boegly

KAFD Men’s and Women’s Portal Spas Proposal / WORKSBUREAU

Seen as geologic formations rising from the land, the design for the KAFD Men’s and Women’s Portal Spas by WORKSBUREAU form great shade porticos beneath long cantilevered masses. Located in two of the civic Attractor beacons of the dense urban King Abdullah Financial District of Riyadh, the project also forms the gateway to the masterplan, framing the main park as it flows into the Wadi pedestrian artery. More images and architects’ description after the break.