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The museum project will boast of an auditorium, book store, rooftop climate-controlled garden
space and restaurant.

UK architect wins Makkah cultural museum project

LONDON, January 26, 2016

Mossessian Architecture, an award-winning London-based architecture practice, said it has won a competition to design a cultural museum in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, which will focus on Islam, Islamic culture and history, said a report.

The Makkah Museum, which will be located about 7 km from the Grand Mosque, will include 5,600 sq m of gallery space to host exhibitions related to the history of Islam, an auditorium, a book store, a teaching space, and a roof top climate-controlled garden space and restaurant, according to a report in the de zeen magazine.

"The Makkah Museum will offer a unique interpretation and reflection of faith to the millions of Muslims who visit Makkah from around the world and who, up until this point, have had no cultural institution of this kind to enhance their visit to the holiest of Muslim cities," said a statement from the expert architect based in Hoxton, east London.

The company, which was founded in 2005 by architect Michel Mossessian, has teamed up with Paris exhibition architects Studio Adeline Rispal for the museum project.

Rispal designed a central void inside the structure to act as a "virtual minaret" that visitors ascend as they move through the exhibitions.

"Mossessian Architecture has delivered this by devising a continuous ramp system to ascend the void, with a parallel spiral staircase for the descent," stated the Paris architects.

"Both circular (like the celestial sphere) and ascending (symbolising the spiritual journey), the central minaret-shaped void calls upon the Muslim community to transcend earthly concerns through their faith – and pursuing the quest for knowledge onwards into infinity," it added.

Mossessian said the exhibits and panoramic film displays will occupy either side of the ramp travelling up through the space.

At the top, visitors will be able to access a climate-controlled garden space, which is designed to be usable even in the extreme heat of Saudi Arabia's summers, it stated.

The outside wall of the museum will incorporate stone sourced from every country in the world where Islam is currently practiced, said the report.

Hujaz rock from the mountains around Makkah will be used for the interior, it added.

Mossessian has a large number projects currently under way in the Middle East and Africa, including the regeneration of the Place Lalla Yeddouna at the heart of the historic Medina in Fez, Morocco.

Its big UK projects include mixed-use towers in London's Paddington Basin and offices in King's Cross.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Makkah | UK | museum | Architect | Mossessian |

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