Kamis, 25 Maret 2010

Mecca and Madinah 2020

A few starchitects like Norman foster and Zaha Hadid have been delegated last year to redesign the Masjid Al-Haram in Islam's holiest city, Mecca. The first designs have been revealed and they look very ambitious. The main concern for the Saudis is understandably the safety of 2.5 millions of pilgrims who flock to Mecca every year. As more Muslims around the world can afford the haj, modernization of the mosque and the area around it is not a luxury. Currently, the mosque holds about 900,000 worshippers, but according to the magazine, The Architects Journal, the new plans will eventually expand that capacity to 3 millions, making it the 'highest occupancy' building in the world. But some critics have been arguing that the new plans amount to vandalism of Islam's most cherished heritage and a manhattanization of its most sacred site. Irfan Al Alawi, the founder of the London-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, told PRI's the World that the expansion plans mark the "end of Mecca". Al Alawi has been accusing Saudi officials of desecrating Mecca by dynamiting historical mountains mentioned in the Quran to make room for skyscraper hotels and the $390 million ZamZam Tower building, a fancy hotel with shopping malls and luxurious suites overlooking the kaabah with costs running up to $150,000 for the haj season. Besides being a project with gargantuan proportions, rebuilding Mecca and Medina, the second holiest site in Islam, will be fraught with tension as officials try to maintain the simplicity of this spiritual journey while vying to make these two sites the world's best architectural wonders. Let's hope Mecca will not turn into a spiritual version of Dubai.

0 komentar: