Winning design unveiled for Islamic faith museum in Mecca

by Kim Megson | 18 Jan 2016

London studio Mossessian Architecture have won an invited competition to design a museum of the Islamic faith in Mecca (known locally as Makkah), Saudi Arabia.

The firm have partnered with French exhibition architects Studio Adeline Rispal to work on the project in Islam’s most sacred city. The museum – located 7km from the city’s Grand Holy Mosque – will explore the history and practice of Islam and the life of Muhammad, who is believed to have been born in the city.

The design features a spiralling void at its core, leading visitors up through the exhibitions via a continuous ramp system, and back down again on a parallel spiral staircase. The underside of the stairs will be inscribed with the 99 Names of Allah, the names of god in Islam, which visitors can view from a dedicated gallery space at the bottom.

“The central minaret-shaped void is both circular, like the celestial sphere, and ascending, symbolising the spiritual journey,” said Mossessian in a statement. “It calls upon the Muslim community to transcend earthly concerns through their faith, and to pursue the quest for knowledge onwards into infinity.”

The Makkah Museum will include 5,600sq m (60,200sq ft) of permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, an auditorium, a bookstore, a restaurant, and a climate-controlled ‘garden of delight’ on the rooftop.

The architects have described their design as “a unique synthesis between creative faith, heritage and modern technology”. They revealed the museum will be constructed using stones sourced from all of the countries in the world where Islam is practiced, while the interior plinths and alcoves will be formed using Hijaz rock from the local mountains.

The studio added: "When finished, the museum will offer a unique interpretation and reflection of faith to the millions of Muslims who visit Makkah from around the world and who, up until this point, have had no cultural institution of this kind to enhance their visit to the holiest of Muslim cities."

US company Aecom will consult on construction of the museum. The competition was held by Samaya Holdings, but the client, project cost and expected completion date have yet to be revealed.

Architecture  design  Islam  Mecca  faith  religion  museum  Saudi Arabia  Aecom  Mossessian 
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London studio Mossessian Architecture have won an invited competition to design a museum of the Islamic faith in Mecca (known locally as Makkah), Saudi Arabia. The firm have partnered with French exhibition architects Studio Adeline Rispal to work on the project in Islam’s most sacred city. The museum – located 7km from the city’s Grand Holy Mosque – will explore the history and practice of Islam and the life of
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Mossessian Architecture and Studio Adeline Rispal have won the design competition for the project / Mossessian Architecture/ Studio Adeline Rispal
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