Criticism of the Architectural Revolution in Mecca

Architectural criticism contributed to the development of the planning view, the architectural touch, and its advancement for the rising nations, which rose and strengthened and strengthened their civilizational appearance, and it is noticeable that these nations did not rise only through careful consideration of the various aspects of life and knowledge of ways of change. And because (Mecca), which God honored by His Noble Sanctuary, is one of the most important Islamic and historical cities at all, and therefore it is the first kiss of Muslims, and Muslims perform their rituals (Hajj and Umrah), it has witnessed in recent years an architectural development and prosperity not seen before, Especially since the year (the third architectural boom) and beyond, where giant projects were established in them, and the number of hotel rooms increased in an unprecedented way to jump to the second largest hospitality city in the world at the end of 2018 and Makkah Al-Mukarramah leads the largest hotel city around the world at the end of 2019 with an average of 165 thousand rooms Hotel of various classification , Which made Mecca succeed in overcoming the demand and housing needs of visitors and pilgrims. This article will focus on criticizing the architectural revolution in Makkah Al-Mukarramah.

Architectural loss, starting from (2007-2015)

But the question now is: Is the structural boom that occurred during that period successful, we mean architecturally successful? Did he provide architectural solutions and good interfaces that leave a leading architectural footprint for Makkah? Most probably not, because these projects, despite their great importance, did not provide good architectural and sound solutions. In this article, we are trying to present a critique of the architecture revolution in Makkah Al-Mukarramah from 2007 to 2015, which is the period during which construction has accelerated, so that we stand on the dimensions of that issue, and we see the negatives so that we can avoid them from a planning point in the future.

Urbanization is rapidly and rapidly increasing, it is important to meet the urgent need for visitors to the Sacred House of God, but the buildings that spread in Makkah high-rise do not provide the most effective urban solutions, and this happened from the year (2007) on, and despite the fact that Meccan architecture has There has been a huge boom since that period, which was not really a remarkable success from a technical and architectural viewpoint that what happened is nothing but an calculated or planned expansion in line with modern building models that adopt innovative solutions.

Architectural boom and architectural boom:

Initially, the country witnessed two real estate booms that affected the architectural style and the character of Makkah Al-Mukarramah, the first boom in 1983 AD, in which the classic architectural character known so far for the old buildings, which is characterized by quality and elegance, spread, and work was done by contractors from the Levant. As for the second boom, it started from the year 2007 AD, which is a major architectural boom that will significantly change the architectural face of Makkah, so that it can be described as a civilized architectural prosperity in the modern era, and since the expansion of the Great Mosque of Mecca is what has been around the campus of buildings Their owners have been compensated for completing the expansions, and because these compensation were estimated at (70 billion riyals), the owners whose property was expropriated took over the construction of many buildings and projects and new styles that were different from what they were previously. We are not against expansion and construction here, but we criticize the solutions provided by these constructions.

الطفرة المعمارية وعصر الازدهار المعماري - Architectural boom and the era of architectural prosperity

The question that arises here is: Why did we not control that urban wealth that coincided with the financial boom? And why did we not provide strong architectural outputs that contribute to setting a prominent architectural identity for buildings in Makkah Al-Mukarramah? Here we highlight the most negatives in the architectural projects in Makkah Al-Mukarramah in the recent period, namely:

  • Architectural Anarchy: (Sulfur Cans)

Similar and cloned buildings from each other produce what are known to architects as: (sulfur boxes) or (shoe boxes), so that the architectural forms that were produced are similar, where the architectural competition for each building is limited to the way of cladding the architectural facades only. Note that most of the materials used in the facades of hotel buildings in Makkah are not environmentally friendly and contribute to global warming.

And at a time when cities like New York are seeking to take advantage of some errors in high-rise buildings in Manhattan and others and strengthen the architectural systems for the architectural design of pilot projects and have taken upon themselves to address the wind movement between buildings and develop solutions to architectural systems that reduce carbon emissions and address The phenomenon of (cold winter and hot summer) “This is after the city succeeded in winning the battle of architectural identification with distinction” which is described by it, but it has become an annual profit by selling products that depend on showing the architectural identity of New York City

Architectural chaos generally arises from the lack of quality that should give us an impression when we visit Makkah Al-Mukarramah. The pilgrim coming out of the Haram finds himself colliding with tall buildings that are similar in height, but are architecturally incompatible and are not expressing a specific identity that we want to reach, as they were designed as solutions for architectural projections and programs An unsuccessful area, not touching the architectural spirit of the individual or the conscience of the user, as every city around the world leaves you with an architectural impression of its own.

فوضى معمارية

The question here arises: Why did we not control this urban wealth that coincided with the financial boom, and why did we not provide strong architectural outputs that contribute to setting a prominent architectural identity for buildings in Makkah Al-Mukarramah? And that instead of the spread of cloudy buildings without clear features and an established identity, which turned them into what are called (sulfur boxes), which distorted the aesthetic scene in Mecca.

  • Architectural quality loss:

The values ​​of quality, safety and sustainability are the most important architectural factors in the modern era, since the architectural identity in any city is formed according to its special nature, and its distinctive features, the viewer of the central projects in Makkah Al-Mukarramah will find that the new construction has become aesthetic values ​​that are not fulfilled for Mecca and its people with nothing, but These formations are considered outrageous in terms of function and purpose.

The loss of the new architectural character and specific to Makkah is one of the big problems, because by losing it we lose the quality and the required modernization methods, and we are witnessing visual pollution and civilized deformation of our identity, which affects our architectural and historical reality and does not serve the interests of our civilized and architectural future. The bottom line is that the money has not been invested in building an architectural model with viable solutions, resulting in a dense cloud of contiguous buildings, a mixture of incompatible forms and genera. All of this leads to the loss of the manufacture of a new architectural identity for Mecca.



So, where is the quality that Mecca is supposed to leave in the hearts of its visitors? Fortunately, a large percentage of visitors will be surprised and admired by the urban expansion that the kingdom is witnessing, but regardless of the spiritual impression that the pilgrim feels to the Sacred House of God, when a competent or critical person comes out, he will see multiple, dense and high buildings different in their shape and architectural identity, And the percentage of artistic and architectural creativity decreases, so the expert visitor generates a real desire for architectural criticism as a result of these different forms. Here lies the problem, which is evident in what was created is identical in terms of purpose, as all the designed buildings are solutions of architectural projections, solutions to unsuccessful surveying programs and not compatible with the architectural spirit of the individual, for a city like New York or Los Angeles or even Paris gives one the impression Especially to the visitor, and this architectural impression of that city

The loss of the modern architectural identity of Makkah, in turn, has effectively led to the loss of the special architectural character that can distinguish Makkah from other cities, it is ready to absorb the architectural modernity with all its techniques provided that it creates its architectural identity, as this thread is what is the difference and that must Take into account, to provide a useful civilization architecture. Planning is the mainstay on which any distinctive artistic architectural work is based, and has its own character, bearing in mind that architectural works are an interconnected chain and technical and engineering construction and must provide the most beneficial solutions to serve people.

  • Optical pollution and dense cement forests: vertical expansion

The concrete irregular densities that are widespread in the architectural buildings in Makkah form a visual confusion that every architectural master senses, and may be slightly touched by the ordinary person, and some people may not touch it because they do not have an architectural vision comparable to that of specialists. This visual pollution causes an aesthetic crisis, which will reflect in the future on the loss of architectural aesthetic values.

  • The absence of a special architectural code: the planning vision

There must be an architectural and engineering standard for Makkah, like every city around the world, because the architectural code guarantees the safety and sustainability of installations, and the code is defined as: a set of principles, requirements, regulations, manufacturing methods and general implementation, which ensures the existence of minimum quality and safety standards, as well as It is a reference for measurement, standardization and arbitration.

عدم وجود كود معماري خاص

Given the importance of this code, it is today a solid foundation for the creation of cities according to modern methods that guarantee their architectural quality and sustainable performance, the adoption of a special code for Makkah is necessary and important as it tops the world in the number of hotel rooms, as indicated by the “Top Hotel Projects” organization.

Among the important observations that we discovered through practice, the different elevator systems and their maintenance, which negatively affects safety rates and fatigue for the concerned authorities, and the multiplication of evacuation and rescue requirements for each building during the reporting and detention operations, where it is assumed that the standardization of the supply and installation standards for all elevators in The city is to facilitate rescue and evacuation teams instead of formation and that is a requirement to create a special code

Read also: Al Saud Plaza Mall in Makkah Al Mukarramah

  • Suggestions:

So what are the proposed solutions to create the architectural uniqueness and the architectural spirit of Makkah Al-Mukarramah, and to preserve its own architectural character, without neglecting to increase and develop urbanism? We suggest a few points here:

  • The presence of an architectural code for Makkah that ensures proper and systematic planning.
  • Increasing the architectural competencies providing the architectural services in Mecca, and supporting them with distinguished engineering cadres.
  • Providing incentives from licensing departments for architecturally distinguished projects, which contribute to encouraging owners to create architecturally distinguished projects.
  • Directing the attention of owners and contractors to implement the architectural outputs in full, so that only the façades and the neglect of others are not taken care of.
  • Apply conditions to real estate owners and provide them with architectural plans and indicative engineering drawings to work according to them in the future, so that the cooperation is between a license designer and an architect with the architectural identity of the project.
  • Adopting 3D construction techniques.
  • Attention to the safety of architectural installations according to the conditions of sustainability.
  • Perhaps the initiative proposed by the Ministry of Culture in establishing a commission for design and architecture will constitute a distinct solution to the phenomenon of quality of architectural outputs
  • Benefiting from the experiences of Jeddah Municipality in developing the tall buildings system

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