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The Architectural Revolution in Mekkah

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The Architectural Revolution: Results and Objectives

Architectural criticism contributed to the development of the planning view and the architectural touch and its advancement to the rising nations, which elevated their status and increased their strength and civilized appearance.

It is noticeable that these nations did not rise except through careful consideration of the various aspects of life and knowledge of the correct ways of change.

And since (Mekkah), which God honored with His Noble Sanctuary, was one of the most important and historical Islamic cities at all,

Hence, it is the first Qibla for Muslims, and with it, Muslims perform their rituals (Hajj and Umrah). In recent years, it has witnessed architectural development and prosperity that it has not witnessed before.

Especially since (the third architectural boom) and beyond, when giant projects were built,

The number of hotel rooms increased in an unprecedented way to jump into the second-largest hospitality city in the world at the end of 2018

Mekkah topped the sector of the largest hotel cities around the world at the end of 2019, with an average of 165,000 hotel rooms of various classifications.

This made Mekkah succeed in overcoming the demand and housing needs of visitors and pilgrims.

This article will focus on the criticism of the architectural revolution in Mekkah.

Loss of architectural character starting from (2007 – 2015)

But the question now is: Is the construction boom that occurred during that period considered successful?

Do we mean architecturally successful?

Did he provide architectural solutions and good facades that leave a pioneering architectural imprint for Mekkah?

Most likely not, because these projects, despite their great importance, did not provide good and sound architectural solutions. In this article, we are trying to present a critique of the architecture revolution in Mekkah from (2007) to (2015),

This is the period that witnessed an acceleration in the pace of construction so that we can stand on the dimensions of this issue, and touch the negatives in order to avoid them from a planning point of view in the future.

The rapid and growing expansion of urbanization is one of the important things to meet the urgent need for visitors to the Sacred House of God.

However, the high-rise buildings that are spreading in Mekkah do not provide the most efficient urban solutions, and this happened from (2007) onwards.

Although Meccan architecture has witnessed a great boom since that period, this did not actually represent a remarkable success from the technical and architectural point of view, which sees that what happened is nothing but an uncalculated or planned expansion in line with modern building styles that adopt innovative solutions.

Architectural Boom and Architectural Growth Era:

Initially, the country witnessed two real estate booms that affected the architectural style and character of Mekkah.

The first boom 1983 AD, in which the classical architectural character known until now for the old buildings, which is characterized by quality and elegance, spread among architects and academic historians by calling that era the oil boom bag.

Where oil played a key role in the urbanization movement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the development of the infrastructure in Mekkah, which is an integral part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Architects and contractors from the Levant worked on developing the style for the post-modern period.

As for the second boom, it started in (2007 AD), and it is a major architectural boom capable of changing the architectural face of Mekkah dramatically.

So that it can be described as the architectural civilization prosperity in the modern era, and since the expansion of the Great Mosque of Mecca was large,

The buildings around the Haram have been compensated for their owners to complete the expansions, and given that these compensations were estimated at (70 billion riyals),

The owners who were expropriated took upon themselves the construction of many buildings and projects in new styles different from what they were before.

Here we are not against expansion and construction, but we direct our criticism of the solutions provided by those constructions.

The question that arises here is:

Why did we not control that urban wealth that coincided with the financial boom? Why did we not provide strong architectural outputs that contribute to the development of a prominent architectural identity for buildings in Mekkah? The following highlights the most negative aspects of the architectural projects in Mekkah in the recent period, which are:

  • Architectural Mess: (Matchboxes)

Buildings that are similar and reproduced from each other produce what architects know as: (matchboxes) or (shoe boxes), so that the architectural forms that were produced were similar,

Where the architectural competition for each building was limited to the method of cladding the architectural facades only.

Noting that most of the materials used in the facades of hotel buildings in Mekkah are not environmentally friendly and contribute to global warming.

At a time when cities such as New York are seeking to take advantage of some mistakes in tall buildings in Manhattan and others and to strengthen the architectural systems for the architectural design of pioneering projects, I have to deal with the movement of winds between buildings and to develop solutions for architectural systems that reduce carbon emissions and address the phenomenon ( Cold winters and hot summers) “this is after the city succeeded in winning the battle of architectural identity par excellence” which it is described in. Rather, it has become annually profitable from 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 Mekkah, as the pilgrim outside the Haram finds himself colliding with tall buildings of similar height, but they are not architecturally compatible and do not express a specific identity that we want to reach, they are designed as solutions to architectural and programs Ineffective spatial, in a way that does not touch the architectural spirit of the individual or the conscience of the user, every city around the world leaves you an architectural impression of its own.

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 establishing a prominent architectural identity for buildings in Mekkah? This is instead of the spread of cloudy buildings without clear features and a firm identity, which turned them into the so-called (matchboxes), which distorted the aesthetic view in Mekkah.

  • Architectural Quality Loss:

The values ​​of quality, safety, and sustainability represent the most important architectural factors in the modern era, since the architectural identity in any city is formed according to its own nature and distinctive features, the beholder of the central projects in Mekkah will find that the new constructions have become aesthetic values ​​that have nothing to do with Mekkah and its people, but These formations are considered preposterous in terms of function and purpose.

The loss of the new architectural character of Mekkah is one of the major problems because by losing it, we lose the required quality and modernization methods, and we are witnessing visual pollution and civilized distortion of our identity, which affects our architectural and historical reality and is not in the interest of our civilized and architectural future. The conclusion is that money was not invested in creating an architectural style that has viable solutions, which resulted in the emergence of a dense cloud of adjacent buildings and a mixture of incompatible urban shapes and genders. All of this leads to the loss of a new architectural identity for Mekkaa.

So where is the quality that Mecca is supposed to leave in the hearts of its visitors? Fortunately, a large proportion of visitors will be amazed and amazed by the urban expansion that the Kingdom is witnessing, but regardless of that spiritual impression that the pilgrim feels to the Sacred House of God when the specialist or critic comes out, he will see multiple, dense and tall buildings that are different in their form and architectural identity, The percentage of artistic and architectural creativity decreases, and the expert visitor generates a real desire for architectural criticism as a result of these different forms. Herein lies the problem, and it is present in what has been created that is identical in purpose, as all designed buildings are solutions to architectural plans, and solutions to unsuccessful survey programs that do not correspond to the architectural spirit of the individual, a city such as New York, Los Angeles, or even Paris gives one the impression Special for the visitor and this architectural impression of that city

The loss of the modern architectural identity of Mekkah, in turn, effectively led to the loss of the special architectural character that can distinguish Mekkah from other cities. Take into account, to provide an effective civilized architecture. Planning is the mainstay on which any distinguished artistic architectural work is based, and it has its own character, bearing in mind that architectural works are an interconnected series and an artistic and engineering building that must provide the most useful solutions to serve people.

  • Visual pollution and dense cement forests: vertical expansion

The irregular cement densities that are scattered in the architectural buildings in Mekkah constitute a state of visual confusion, which is felt by every elaborate architect, and it may be slightly touched by the average person, and some people may not touch it because they do not have an architectural vision comparable to the vision of specialists. This visual pollution causes an aesthetic crisis, which will be reflected in the future loss of architectural aesthetic values.

  • The lack of a special architectural code: the schematic vision

There must be an architectural and engineering standard specific to Mekkah, like every city around the world because the architectural code guarantees the safety and sustainability of facilities. The code is defined as a set of principles, requirements, regulations, and general manufacturing and implementation methods, which ensure the existence of minimum standards of quality and safety, as It is considered a reference for benchmarking, benchmarking, and arbitration.

Given the importance of this code, it is today a solid basis for the establishment of cities according to modern methods that guarantee their architectural quality and sustainable performance. The adoption of a code specific to Mekkah is necessary and important, as it leads 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 the safety rates and exhaustion for the concerned parties, and the multiplicity of evacuation and rescue requirements for each building during the reporting and detention operations, as it is assumed that standardization of standards for the supply and installation of all elevators in The city to facilitate rescue and evacuation teams instead of forming a requirement for creating a special code

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So what are the proposed solutions to create the architectural uniqueness and the architectural spirit of Makkah Al-Mukarramah, and to preserve its special architectural character, without neglecting the increase and development of urbanization? We suggest some points here:

  • The presence of an architectural code specific to Mekkah, which ensures proper and systematic planning.
  • Increasing the architectural competencies providing architectural services in Makkah, and supporting them with distinguished engineering cadres.
  • Providing incentives from licensing departments for architecturally distinguished projects, which contributes to encouraging owners to create architecturally distinguished projects.
  • Directing the owners’ and contractors’ attention to implementing the complete architectural outputs, so that only facades are concerned and others are neglected.
  • 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 between a designer for the license and an architect for the architectural identity of the project.
  • Adopting 3D techniques in construction.
  • Attention to the safety of architectural facilities in accordance with the conditions of sustainability.
  • Perhaps the initiative proposed by the Ministry of Culture to establish a body for design and architecture will constitute a distinctive solution to the phenomenon of the quality of architectural outputs
  • Benefiting from the experiences of the Municipality of Jeddah in developing the high-rise system

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