Calligraphy-Inspired Complex Creates Architectural Poetry In Saudi Arabia

Calligraphy-Inspired Complex Creates Architectural Poetry In Saudi Arabia

Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo has proposed a complex in Madinah that is inspired by Arabic calligraphy and the Qur'an.

Daniela Walker
  • 17 june 2014

The Noble Qur’an Oasis competition was an architectural competition to design a complex in the Madinah region of Saudi Arabia. The designs entered by Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo envisaged a series of interconnected buildings that, when viewed from a bird’s eye view, makes up an abstract interpretation of Arabic calligraphy.


Mecanoo reinterpreted the formal calligraphy of Arabic into interlocking, fluid buildings that create a plethora of public and private spaces. As well as being inspired by calligraphy, the design took inspiration from the Qur’an – the holy book of Islam after which the center is named. The proposal states that the following passage was Mecanoo’s starting point:

He cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so it would not move under you, and rivers and pathways so that hopefully you would be guided.
(Qur’an, 16:15)

Mountains are important symbols through the writings of Islam and mentioned often in the Qur’an. Indeed, the holy book states Muhammed received his first revelation within a mountain cave. Mecanoo sought to reference this idea of a mountainous range when visitors first come upon the complex with the undulating, high walls in front of them. They then enter the complex and it ‘reveals itself as a vessel for the knowledge of the Qur’an’ according to the proposal.


The design also considered the unique landscape within which the Noble Qur’an Center would be situated. Madinah is a northwestern region that is close to the ocean and lies in a fertile oasis. The loops of the buildings provide isolated outdoor spaces throughout the complex, that are small to avoid too much penetration from the powerful desert sun. The buildings following the learning of traditional Arab buildings, which are often built in clusters to provide protection from the heat and harsh elements.


While the Mecanoo proposal did not win out, the designs are an example of how traditional inspirations can create novel solutions. Not only was it envisaged as a grand complex, but when viewed from a above, a poetic sculpture that harmonizes outdoor and indoor spaces.


[h/t] Designboom


Dubai And The Future Of Humanitarian Design

Design & Architecture
Technology october 21, 2016

Concept Camera Designed To Only Take Unique Photos

Camera Restricta is tool that prompts photographers to only capture one-of-a-kind images

Design & Architecture october 21, 2016

Fragrance Will Release The Smell Of Data If Your Private Information Is Being Leaked

The device is designed to create a physical cue for the potential dangers lurking online


Get PSFK's Related Report: Building Tomorrow

See All
Retail october 21, 2016

LYNK & CO Is A New Auto Brand That Promises Mobile Connectivity On Wheels

Online access and mobility sharing are driving the company to disrupt the auto industry

Related Expert

Vivien Bohme

Fashion Entrepreneur

Travel october 21, 2016

Become A Citizen Of The First Nation In Space

Asgardia is a new concept for a floating society above Earth

Entertainment october 21, 2016

Speaker Displays Song Lyrics As Music Is Played

The device is able to generate the graphics on a translucent screen and retrieve the words from a connected database

AI october 21, 2016

Travel Assistant Scans Your Emails To Make Planning Easier

This AI add-on will sync with your inbox and sends reminders to make sure you don't miss anything important


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 17, 2016

Home Depot Green Energy Expert: Americans Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Green tech expert Jennifer Tuohy discusses new home energy tech and developments for renewables in the US

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Millennials october 21, 2016

FOMO Survival Kit Helps Millennials Cope With Social Anxieties

The satirical product is meant to be a playful diversion for people who feel like they are missing out

Food october 21, 2016

New York Restaurant Uses Tomato Sushi As Its Newest Meat Alternative

fresh&co is using sous vide Roma tomatoes to create a vegan option that has the texture and taste of tuna

Advertising october 21, 2016

Red Bull Converts Sao Paulo Payphones Into Data-Driven Bus Schedules

The booths allow city residents to check local transit times through a simple toll-free phone call

Work october 21, 2016

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

Retail october 21, 2016

Why Experiential Events Could Replace Trade Shows

Marketers are seeking creative and impactful new ways to connect with influencers

Children october 21, 2016

Modular Kit Teaches Kids How To Make Their Own Robots

MODI features magnetic modules and a platform for programming to encourage experimentation

Infants october 21, 2016

Work Table Doubles As A Baby Seat

Designer Kunsik Choi created the furniture to facilitate emotional communication between between parents and their children

Technology october 21, 2016

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

No search results found.