Foster and Hadid in running to remake Mecca
Friday 28 November 2008
Two of Britain's most-renowned architects are in the running for the single most audacious renovation in history: the redevelopment of Mecca.
Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid are among 18 architects to have been approached about redesigning Islam's holiest city by building a mosque complex to host the three million Haj pilgrims who visit every year. The development would more than triple the central al-Haram mosque's current 900,000 capacity, making it the highest-occupancy building in the world.
The plans are thought to be backed by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The remit is to "establish a new architectural vision" for Mecca's 356,800sq m mosques complex. The King is to be presented with the proposals by Hadid, 58, and Foster, 73, with those of the other designers at an exhibition at the end of the month.
Sources close to the project told The Architect's Journal the scheme is likely to be phased, the first stage taking the al-Haram mosque capacity to 1.5 million. That would rise gradually until three million was reached. Neither Foster nor Hadid wanted to comment on the project last night. Hadid's spokesman said he "could neither confirm nor deny" speculation, while Foster's office said: "It has been leaked and not from us so I'm unable to comment."
Other sources describe the project as divided into two "tracks", one looking at various alternatives for the northern expansion of the al-Haram complex, and the other at the al-Haram itself. Lord Foster's firm, Foster & Partners, has been invited to partake in the former with 10 other firms including, reportedly, Atkins Design.
Zaha Hadid, with six other world-renowned firms, has been given the task of re-envisioning the al-Haram mosque itself, as well as "revisiting the whole area of the central district". British engineers Adams Kara Taylor and Faber Maunsell are also thought to be under consideration.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Pixie Geldof signs recording deal with Stranger Records
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd