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Foster + Partners wins Makkah luxury hotel project

RIYADH, January 31, 2017

Foster + Partners, a leading UK-based architectural firm, said it has secured a major contract from leading Saudi real estate group Jabal Omar Development to design the masterplan of a luxury hotel and serviced apartments project in the heart of Makkah city.

Jabal Omar Development awarded the contract after Foster + Partners won a major design competition for the project beating several others in the race.

Inspired by traditional Arab architecture, the British group designed the project in a novel way reinterpreting the traditional dense building clusters and creating a new contemporary vernacular that respects its sacred location.

Following the mountainous terrain, its cascading vertical elements form a new topography. The new mixed-use development will create a new gateway along the route to the Grand Mosque for pilgrims from the world over, said a top official.

Luke Fox, the head of studio and senior executive partner, Foster + Partners, said: "Makkah is one of the most unique cities in the world and as the home of the Holy Kaaba it presents a special challenge and honour for any developer and architect."

"Our design sets out to create an innovative building form that will be respectful to the scale and importance of the Grand Mosque," he noted.

Fox pointed out that the scheme addresses the shortage of accommodation in Makkah in response to the rapid growth in visitor numbers.

"Occupying a large portion of the site, the orientation of all rooms and apartments maximise and optimise views towards the Holy Kaaba – the main focal point for every visitor. Generated from the inside-out, its interiors design is an antidote to the lack of identity that typical generic hotel rooms suffer from. Every room has a dedicated space for private prayer and contemplation that provides direct views to the Grand Mosque and Holy Kaaba," he explained.

Located on the axis between the new Haramain High-speed Rail Station and the Grand Mosque, the site also forms a key part of the pilgrims’ journey towards the Holy Kaaba.

A dramatic pedestrian ramp integrated with the new topography will take the pilgrims through naturally lit spaces, adding to the special experience of visiting the Grand Mosque, remarked Fox.

"Our endeavour has been to make the experience special and appropriate to its unique location. The design follows a philosophy of ‘luxury with humility’ with an understated elegance throughout the development," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Saudi | Makkah | Foster + Partners | luxury hotel |

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