Hajj Terminal

The terminal is at the King Abdulaziz International Airport, located 43 miles west of the Holy City of Mecca. The Hajj Terminal  is designed by SOM as part of the master plan for the broader airport and air force base facility.
Courtesy of SOM Photography of Jay Langlois | Owens-Corning

Courtesy of SOM, Photography of Jay Langlois | Owens-Corning

The design team conceived an open-air facility sheltered by a concrete shell structure, but it quickly became apparent that the harsh desert climate required a more innovative solution. Instead of concrete, the team settled on a Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric from Owens Corning. The fiberglass was made of Beta yarn, which is finer than silk but has the strength of steel. A Teflon coating reflects 76 percent of the solar radiation, maintaining a comfortable 80 degree temperature under the tent structure even when temperatures outside reach 130 degrees; it also allows about 7 percent of the sunlight to pass through. The naturally ventilated building is topped by 210 semi-conical, Teflon-coated fiberglass roof units that are contained within a total of 10 modules. The modules are supported by 45-meter-high steel pylons.The fabric  allows the sun to cast a warm light over the support area and at night, it becomes a great reflective surface.
Courtesy of SOM Photography of Jay Langlois | Owens-Corning

Courtesy of SOM ,Photography of Jay Langlois | Owens-Corning

SOM designed a linear terminal building and a separate, large support complex where travelers can comfortably prepare for their journey to Mecca. The complex contains facilities like provisions for cooking areas for the pilgrims to prepare their own food, ablution facilities for the cleansing process prior to the five daily prayers, spaces for changing into the ritual Hajj garments, seating that can also accommodate napping and even market spaces where pilgrims can sell goods they have brought with them to help fund their trips.
Courtesy of SOM Photography of Jay Langlois | Owens-Corning

Courtesy of SOM ,Photography of Jay Langlois | Owens-Corning

As Khan described in an interview with Progressive Architecture magazine, “It creates the spirit, it gives you a feeling of tranquility and a sense of continuity, of transition into the real place, which is Mecca“.
Project Information :
Architect : Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)
Location : Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Project Year : 1981
Total Area : 260,000 square meters

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