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Islamic Architecture
 
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
There are several major skyscrapers going up immediately beside the Kaaba, including a 1,900' centre-piece. Debates are raging as to if these are appropriate, particularly given many historic sites have been destroyed over the years to make room for such structures. The other aspect of concern relating to 'Islamic Architecture' is building in a way that is appropriate to the area's context. What are the thoughts of people on this forum in this regard? The Saudi's have not consulted with the broader Muslim community on such construction. Is this an acceptable process, given the broader meaning of the site, and its importance to world heritage?

Related web-sites / article of possible interest:

http://www.abrajalbait.com/main.html

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article358577.ece

Construction picture:

Al-Karim Walli
Responses
 
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
Salam Kareem,
Thank you for bringing this subject AND the picture. I don;t know wether the debate now is of any importance that the Abraj are as high as we see. I think it's a very not thought off location. if they are this high and overlooking the kaaba..then they can be built a bit farther and hajij can walk or be transported by regular buses from and forth. It DISTROY the spiritual feeling of the person IN the haram when he look at the building. pilgrimage should be a spiritual trip as well as the actual physical work they have to do. The place is historic as well as a holy place that should not much change from it's original form...

Regards,
Zainab Nakshabandi
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
Just for perspective, the centre building that has not yet been constructed (will be in between the two seen in the construction picture) will be more than twice the height of these two buildings. I agree with the other thoughts presented - I really feel these are way too close. They appear, to me any way, as a show of human power and pride, instead of humility.
Al-Karim Walli
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
I happen to work in the firm designing these structures . From what i see the saudis have a total different perspective towards this type of architecture. They presume that in some way they are serving the pilgrims by offering them a convenient place to stay provided that the profits gained are directed towards more development under the concept of " endownment ". The height and size are previewed as symbols of majesty and grandeur derived form the importance of the holy site. This is an interpretation to the phenomenon , yet i mention it only for clarification and not in an attempt to advocate the saudi policy of development . In fact i totally agree that they violate the sacred realm of the holy mosque in an unprecedented way . The concept of 'service of the holy site' can be acheieved in a more appropriate way , one that affiliates with the spiritual sense of place .
Eman Lasheen
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
Here is a picture of the Ottoman castle that was destroyed to make room for these new 5-star (IE priced out of reach of most pilgrims) facilities:
Al-Karim Walli
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
Dear All
Please give the comments on this proposal: Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Furqan Khatri
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
WE HAVE TO KEEP HOLY PLACES IN ITS ORINGINAL STATES AS MUCH AS WE CAN. THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER DESIGN PLANS TO CATER THE INFLUX OF HUGE PILGRIMS.
REGARDS
SALMAN ELLAHI
Salman Ellahi
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
Perhaps the set-up of the Vatican City, relative to Italy, is the way to go. Clearly, the significant of the Kaaba goes beyond the political state of Saudi Arabia. If it and its surroundings could some how be given a level of autonomy, and governed by the Muslim Ummah via a new governance agreement, perhaps these typs of issues could be debated and discussed. This would ensure that different perspectives could not simply put aside by the political entity in power within that region.
Al-Karim Walli
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
Here is a new rendering including the Kaaba context. Man this is looking so out of place. Makes me very sad :(
Al-Karim Walli
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
Would have made for a brilliant way to engage muslims around the world in a design competition with discussions and sharing of visions for the future.
Iqbal Jamal
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
New construction image ... the buildings are only half way up, yet it is already hard to find the Kaaba (bottom right). Hmmm. October 12,2007 - photo by ali, via 'saudi guy' at skyscrapercity.com
Al-Karim Walli
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
Big Towers = ego and defiance.
but
Islam = submission.

The equations cannot be solved!
Zoheb Kherada
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
Eman Lasheen.. You are the one who can put these ideas across... How can you let it happen!!
Also... I think a lot more beautiful and elegant designs can be derived from the concept of 'submission'.
Zoheb Kherada
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
The funniest part is that the tallest tower seems similar to the Big ben of London....
and even more ironical for me is the fact that I have just applied for a Job in Dar Al-Handasah the firm responsible for the design!
Zoheb Kherada
Abraj Al-Bait - Towers Encroaching on Kaaba
Latest rendering (is really looking out of place and contrary to principals of Islamic architecture):