Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil graduated from Ain-Shams University in Cairo, where, from 1965 to 1970, he lectured in the Department of Architecture. El-Wakil has acknowledged the importance of Hassan Fathy to his design development. Since 1971 El-Wakil has been in private practice as an architect.
(Source: Architecture and Community: Building in the Islamic World Today. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Millerton, NY: Aperture. 1983.)
During the 1980's, the Egyptian architect Abdel Wahed El-Wakil designed over a dozen mosques in Saudi Arabia. While these mosques differ in size, formal composition, and sources of financing, they nonetheless share a number of general characteristics. Firstly, they can all be referred to as revivalist structures. All draw heavily, and often very directly, on various historical prototypes belonging to the architectural heritage of the Islamic world.
All these mosques share strong similarities in the use of materials and construction technologies Their construction is based on the utilisation of load bearing brick walls, vaults and domes. Therefore, these structures are built of hollow baked bricks held together with mortar Most of the brick surfaces are covered with white plaster, and in some cases, with granite. However, the interior of the vaults and domes are generally left exposed, and are only coated with a layer of browinsh paint. As for reinforced concrete, its use is limited to specific elements, which include the foundations, lintels, and flat ceiling.
The site of the mosque consists of an artsficial island situated just off the Jeddah Corniche. The island is connected to the mainland by a narrow bridge. The design of this mosque is a relatively simple one. It consists of a rectangular prayer hall, flanked by a porticoed courtyard, which is connected to the main entrance, as well as a square minaret. The prayer chamber is surrounded by aisles on three sides, and is topped by a dome resting on an octagonal drum. The exterior façades, those facing the mainland are treated in a closed manner, and thus, contain a small number of openings. However, on the opposite side, facing the sea, the mosque opens up towards the courtyard, which in turn faces the sea with an open arcade. The minaret, which is located at the northern end of the courtyard, is topped by a small dome and has a balcony with a wooden railing. The whole structure is treated as a pavilion in that it is open to the natural elements, and has no weather-tight windows and doors separating the exterior from the interior.