As part of the “Noble Quran Oasis” competition, Dutch Practice Mecanoo has proposed a unifying structure that references both the physical and the poetic characteristics of ancient islamic cities. To be built in Al Madinah, Saudi Arabia, the design reconfigures formal arabic into calligraphy, resulting in a spatial and visual experience for the site’s visitors.
The scheme plays an important role within the region’s landscape, an urban solution that also functions as a catalyst – encouraging growth within the area. The building’s physical expression respects and caters to the needs of guests, providing an intimate retreat away from the outside world.
Situated amid a fertile oasis, the city of Al Madinah is surrounded by elevated peaks. Consequently, the proposed design articulates the prominent role that mountains play in Islamic culture, as symbols of permanence and promise. As visitors approach the complex the building is interpreted as a undulating landscape, before entering the cave-like interior.
Upon closer inspection, the collective form of the structure features discrete internal and external spaces alongside clearly defined programs. In order to fully utilize the monumental entrance, the roofline slopes down gently, before transforming into single level patio structures on either side.
Throughout the dense organic form, greenery and water are domesticated and introduced into the urban environment artificially, primarily within internal patios. Large open spaces within the design are reserved for military parades or similar festivities due to the region’s hot climate and penetrating sun.
Source: Design Boom