Mecca Saudi Arabia

Designer: Buro Happold
Client: Jabal Khandama Development Company
Location: Khandama, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Completion Date: Est 2014


This case study is based on the urbanization project covering 60 ha in the immediate neighborhood of Mecca. The site is on the western side of Khandama mountain,which overlooks the Holy Mosque of Al-Haram and the royal palaces. The proposed development includes a range of hotels, seasonal services and permanent residential apartments and retail shopping complexes. It creates efficient and safe pedestrian links to the Holy Mosque and compliments the surroundings of the Al Haram.


Buro Happold were commissioned to produce Earthworks, Road Design and to create a 3D land-form model for master planning. Other services included utility coordination and Geo-technical studies. Due to the extremely high number of Muslims that visit the Al Haram, be it for the annual pilgrimage to the Holy Mosque (during Ramadan) or simply daily prayer, there has become a need for long-term accommodation in the adjacent mountains. Khandama, with a prime location looking down onto the Mosque, is ideal for both visitors and investors.


As the project is at the master planning stage, some of the design was of high-level and therefore did not require too much detail. The topography, required a detailed 3D model to understand the sites constraints, as well as the complexity of the project. 12d Model was used to create both an earthworks tin,as well as a finished surface tin. With height differences across the site of up to 120m, both the Architects and Engineers used this model to help with the design.


A number of issues were evident before the actual project began, main points areas follows: · The sheer volume of people that visit Mecca. This requires access to and from the holy mosque year round.