Mossessian Architect to build faith museum in Mecca

Based in London, Mossessian Architect will design the Islamic faith museum that will be built in Mecca.

Established by Armenian architect Michel Mossessian, the studio has won a competition to design the Mecca Museum that will be built in Mecca, which is the most sacred city for Muslims. Mossessian teamed up with Studio Adeline Rispal to enter competition for the museum project. 

The building will include 5,600 square meters of gallery space to host exhibitions related to the international practice and history of Islam and the life of Muhammad. Also, there will be a reception area, an auditorium, book store, teaching space, roof garden and restaurant.

"It will bridge a gap"

Michel Mossessian told about the design of the museum: "The Mecca Museum will offer a unique interpretation and reflection of faith to millions of Muslims who visit Mecca from around the world and who, up until this point, have had no cultural institution of this kind to enhance their visit to the holiest of Muslim cities."

A central void inside the structure is designed which will be like a "virtual minaret" that visitors ascend as they move through the exhibitions. 

The firm stated that “A continuous ramp system to ascend the void is devised with a parallel spiral staircase for the descent. Both circular (like the celestial sphere) and ascending (symbolising the spiritual journey), the central minaret-shaped void calls upon the Muslim community to transcend earthly concerns through their faith – and pursuing the quest for knowledge onwards into infinity." Exhibits and panoramic film displays will occupy either side of the ramp travelling up through the space.

At the top, visitors will be able to access a climate-controlled garden space, which is designed to be usable even in the extreme heat of Saudi Arabia's summers.

The underside of the spiralling stairs leading back down will be inscribed with the 99 Names of Allah, the names of god in Islam, which will be viewable from a dedicated gallery space at the bottom.

The outside wall of the museum will incorporate stone sourced from every country in the world where Islam is currently practiced. Hujaz rock from the mountains around Mecca will be used for the interior.

"Inside, the rock is used to create alcoves and plinths that visitors encounter as they mount the ramp," said the architect. "These house the exhibition displays, which tell the story of the life of the Prophet and enrich understanding about Islam."

Ten-year-old firm

Based in Hoxton, east London, Mossessian Architecture was founded in 2005 by architect Michel Mossessian. The studio has a large number projects currently under way in the Middle East and Africa, including the regeneration of the Place Lalla Yeddouna at the heart of the historic Medina in Fez, Morocco. 



About Author

Vartan Estukyan