Sited between the Masjid Al-Haram (Great Mosque) and the 3.65km King Abdul Aziz Road (KAAR) urban development corridor in Makkah (Mecca), Saudi Arabia, the gateway development designed by Omrania / HOK forms a monumental architectural portal. The mixed-use development of six interconnected buildings includes hotels, residences, shopping centers, and public plazas accessible from the central pedestrian boulevard.
The four corner towers, measuring 150 to 180 meters tall, are defined by chiseled massing and layered facades that echo the vernacular architecture of Makkah. A pair of elongated retail buildings connect the towers along each side of the 60-meter-wide, elevated pedestrian boulevard. These provide shaded loggias and recessed entrance plazas at the boulevard level, roof gardens for residents and hotel guests, and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station at the base of the development.
Architecturally, the design of the KAAR gateway development is at once contemporary and contextual. The cladding system of stone, glass, and aluminum screens reinterprets traditional local building traditions on a larger scale. The rhythmic spacing of deeply set windows and the geometrically patterned screens serve climatic as well as cultural functions. Energy performance is further enhanced by the state-of-the-art insulated curtain wall system, a water recycling system, and other design and engineering features.
Omrania / HOK designed the architecture and landscape and completed the structural engineering. Omrania was also responsible for MEP engineering, civil engineering, and design project management.