Madinah urban design contest aims to develop identity of holy city

Shared by Omar Mandia
Office of the Hajj Attaché, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Published in Arab News by NADA HAMEED, January 04, 2023

JEDDAH: Saudi and international architecture and design experts are being invited to take part in a competition aimed at developing the urban identity of Madinah.

The contest, recently launched by Madinah Municipality regional officials, will look to involve specialists in providing sustainable urban design studies and solutions for the development of an area near to the Prophet’s Mosque.

The target site in Al-Usayfirin district is around 1 kilometer southwest of the Prophet’s Mosque and situated close to major city center landmarks including the railway, Anbariya Mosque, and municipality headquarters.

The competition has been split into two categories, the first open to companies and organizations, and the second for students and groups.

Safiyah Sagor, one of the contest’s administrators, told Arab News: “Through this competition, we open the door and welcome all the competent authorities, engineers, and designers from within Madinah, the Kingdom, and the world to present their ideas, proposals, and designs to develop the local urban identity of the city and leave their mark on it.

“We, as the municipality of the Madinah region, are working to raise the level of quality of life by improving the urban and visual landscape of the city’s neighborhoods.”

The competition criteria will focus on developing a special architectural identity in line with the heritage and history of the Madinah region by offering cash prizes worth SR100,000 ($26,600) for the most innovative and visionary projects.

While entrants will be allowed to determine the development style of the site, the local identity of Madinah must be taken into account to harmonize designs with the environment and nature of the region.

Sagor said: “The site was selected based on several criteria, including highlighting key development elements, such as the city fronts that need some improvement, the visual landscape, and the vacant land on the site that will enable the participants to unleash their creativity.

“Also, there is a historical site within the target area which can be exploited in a variety of ways.”

Design submissions will need to adhere to architectural identity and key development rules, and include the building of facades, creation of public squares, and production of a master plan for the targeted area.

“The competition is directed toward architects, designers, engineers, and those interested in the field, who will work to enhance and highlight local skills,” Sagor added.

Registration for the competition can be made via until Jan. 15. Three winners from each category will be announced in April.

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