gmp architekten's third prize proposal for noble quran oasis in medina
 
gmp architekten's third prize proposal for noble quran oasis in medina
jul 03, 2014

gmp architekten's third prize proposal for noble quran oasis in medina

gmp architekten’s third prize proposal for noble quran oasis in medina
image by gmp architekten

 

 

 

an invited competition has been held for the design of the ‘noble quran oasis,’ from which gmp architekten have received third prize. the complex is intended to serve as a landmark in the saudi arabian desert, located outside the city of medina. the project unites a combination of programs to create a center for global education and religious knowledge, including lecture rooms, research center, museum, bazaar, and cafés. the urban scale proposal is intended to restore the historic holy city of medina as a globally recognized islamic culture center.

gmp architekten noble quran oasis designboom

vegetation and waterways cover the buildings and landscape to produce an oasis environment
image by gmp architekten

 

 

 

the scheme is envisioned as a ‘hidden garden’ which contrasts with its harsh desert context. a ring of massive and dark existing volcanic stones surround the site, and represent the rugged and barren environment. this is juxtaposed by the oasis complex perimeter, which is wrapped in a layer of vegetation, and arranged with progressively thickening palm trees that shade lower layers of plant life and waterways.

 

the building composition creates a dynamic series of spaces with changing exposure between light and dark, producing a variety of experiences for visitors. a one-meter wide band of quranic calligraphy runs along every façade, with different scripts and colors distinguishing the diverse diacritics.

gmp architekten noble quran oasis designboom

the building composition creates a dynamic series of spaces with a variety of light and dark exposures
image by gmp architekten

 

 

 

a primary plaza is located at the center of the site, which features a distinguishing sculptural form at its center and a subterranean ‘acoustic chamber’ below. the latter is a large cave-like vault, intended to be a bright and awe-inspiring conclusion to the lengthy and dark approaching journey. the space is composed of stepping cube forms, and excerpts of the quran are recited aloud for visitors to observe.

 

the void is reached by a series of underground passageways approaching from various areas all over the site. these corridors begin with exhibition containing historical, linguistic, and theological displays, and gradually progress to become increasing dark until they are nearly pitch-black.

gmp architekten noble quran oasis designboom

passages of the quran are recited in the subterranean ‘acoustic chamber’
image by gmp architekten

 

 

 

a prominent sculpture, the ‘golden quran spiral’, is place atop the subterranean acoustic chamber, and serves to radiate daylight around the central plaza. the entirety of the quran’s text is written on the curving structure, in the oldest known quranic script and in a descending direction symbolizing a transition from heaven to earth.

gmp architekten noble quran oasis designboom

the vegetated complex contrasts its barren desert landscape
image by gmp architekten

 

 

 

see designboom’s additional coverage of the noble quran oasis competition here.

 

drawings

gmp architekten noble quran oasis designboom

the project site in context with medina’s city center
image by gmp architekten

gmp architekten noble quran oasis designboom

site plan
image by gmp architekten

gmp architekten noble quran oasis designboom

floor plan / level 0
image by gmp architekten

gmp architekten noble quran oasis designboom

floor plan / level +1
image by gmp architekten

 

 

 

 

project info:

 

location: medina, saudi arabia
project type: competition, awarded 3rd prize
client: al-madinah al-munawarah development authority (MMDA)
design: volkwin marg and hubert nienhoff with martin hakiel
associate partner: markus pfisterer
project management: kassem eida
expert on quran and islamic studies: dr. ghassan el masri
design team: (alphabetical) monika kwiatkowski, gerado martin martinez, benjamin moore,  alejandro vallet segura, ignacio zarrabeita

partner office: RAC consultant and contractor (jeddah, saudi arabia)

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