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The Holy City and its Discontents

Part 2 Project 2008
Deena Fakhro
Architectural Association London | UK
Once a year, every year, the Muslim Holy City of Makkah is momentarily flooded to breaking point by a relentless three million pilgrim-surge: the Hajj. As the largest gathering of people in one place at one time on Earth, the obligatory pilgrimage demands unparalleled infrastructural miracles of the humble Holy City. In response, the project strategically proposes polynodal ‘gateway airports’ that disperse congestion multi-directionally within Makkah’s valleys. These gateway airports opportunistically combined with the mosque typology, form an Islamic University that is activated through a programmatic switch, integrating the redundant off-peak Hajj infrastructures and establishing new autonomous cities.
Deena Fakhro

The brief for the year reconsiders the phenomena of the Aerotropolis - an observation that airports today have become cities in themselves. Responding to the infrastructural and logistical dilemma of the annual Hajj that plaques the holy city of Makkah, Deena’s intelligently poignant proposal opportunistically turns the redundant airport to an absorber of an off-peak public program. The airport thus is re-imagined as a series of dispersed hybridised airport and Islamic University. Punctuating the valleys surrounding Makkah, these airports as new cities resurrect the idea of the ancient city gates that pilgrims pass through on their journey to the Holy City.

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