Fall 2015 Thesis Project—eVolo Skyscraper Competition

  • RE-ENVISIONING HAJJ PILGRIMAGE
  • One of the largest annual gatherings in the world takes place in the valleys of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Due to ease of travel nowadays, the demand of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca has overwhelmingly increased to astonishing figures. The relatively small city of Mecca is in constant race with the higher demands to accommodate and move pilgrims more efficiently and safely. 
    Our approach to this challenge is focused on two main components: decent accommodation and efficient circulation. With consideration to the increasing number of pilgrims, the design addresses the issue of high demands through the following approaches: building vertically to relief stress on the land and creating automated mass-travel systems. 
    The current permanent, tent structures are reaching the end of their lifespan. Moreover, vehicular traffic of pilgrim buses are overtaking the few, narrow roads of Mina valley. Currently, only 2 million perform the pilgrimage, and is expected to be as many as 20 million by 2030. To respond to this issue, the accommodation module houses all activities that take place in Mina camps including cooking, praying, washing, and sleeping. With the concept of self-efficiency, each module will have independent with its own passive daylighting and ventilation systems integrated within them. 
    Accommodation module arrangement varies in the building. Arrangement is based on the lifestyle that fits best with the pilgrim’s background and culture. The main tower is designed to serve pilgrims who prefer a hospitality experience, whereas the lower arrangements near the tower are meant for community-oriented masses and people most accustomed to villages.
    Because Islam is a communal religion, the module arrangement allows for gathering spaces to be attached to each accommodating module. Moreover, recreation modules are located at various levels to accommodate pilgrims’ social activities. Both modules utilize the same structure for construction convenience. Additionally, a vast bazaar (market) lies on the ground level giving pilgrims the opportunity to exchange gifts and support local businesses. 
    Moving from one sacred location at a specific time is one of the main rituals to performing Hajj. Currently, pilgrims march a few miles each day to get from one destination to another. Naturally, there is a separation between vehicles (pilgrim buses and services) and pedestrians through the construction of multi-layered bridges. To solve this problem, a proposed transit system is to be integrated with the existing roads and accommodation units to minimize walking distance. A series of strategically-placed stations will transport pilgrims from the Grand Mosque (Al Haram) to respective accommodation units. 
    Transit system consists of pods, which are independent and powers itself by harvesting. The main purpose of the pod is to transport a group of pilgrims going to similar destination by scanning their ID cards. The pod determines the rail it needs to be on to arrive at the skyscraper, the pod travels vertically top drop off pilgrims at their respective floors. Thus creating an automated, self-sufficient, and efficient transportation system minimizes wait time.
    While the Hajj pilgrimage is only 5-days long, the building serves as a food production hub during the rest of the year. The beds will be converted into planter beds in all accommodating units. Through utilizing Bernoulli’s effect embedded in the structure, temperature will be mitigated through the hot seasons. Moreover, the lenses on the sides of the module will ensure light travels to a central prism then dispersed to designated lighting unit to maximize daylight harvesting for the plants. As a result, the building will be cultivated for a harvest prior to the pilgrims’ arrival. 
    “Taking time to build a community, to get to know one’s people will have long-lasting benefits.” 
    -Clifton Gaulbert

  • “Taking time to build a community, to get to know one’s people will have long-lasting benefits.”
                                                                                                                                                                                 -Clifton Gaulbert
  • Circulation Pods [Minimal Wait Times]
  •                                                                                                    Hajj Pilgrimage - Process Book
  • [2016 Evolo Skyscraper Competition Entry]