Year 4 – 2019

In its fourth year, the Jeddah Visiting School will continue to expand its rich archive on Makkah, uncovering uncharted territories of exploration of the city that lies beyond the Holy Mosque.

We will challenge the notion of what constitutes a sacred boundary. Trekking into the unknown and exploring a unique urban quarrel of contrasts and contradictions, that prompts debate on the classification of space: public vs. private / holy vs. unholy.

As Makkah undergoes its most dramatic period of transformation the students will work to capture its narrative as mosque, city and symbol. They will dissect the complexities of the city’s urban makeup, building on and reassembling the resources and findings collected in the archival book and the vignettes mapped over the past three years of the visiting school. Through the construction and deconstruction of the city the students will decipher the blueprints of Makkah as a collective whole. Working to present an experience bridging the visible and invisible landscapes of the city.


Year 3 – 2017

Rationalizing and pursuing a reflective tier of study, we now delve into critically bridgingthe two scales of research pursued in our first and second years. We set out to bridge the visible and invisible landscapes of the city, to bring forth the case studies explored and pursued, to synthesize the urban scales of the neighbourhoods mapped and the typologies rendered as characteristic of those areas.
With an ambition to archive Makkah, we continue to gather research and explore the city on
foot, but we now also present ourselves with the challenge to funnel our findings through
defined parameters, against prescribed benchmarks to help assess and critically reflect on
the contents gathered. It is an agenda that works with multiple scales of research, which
draws to connect between the scales to present a holistic and rigorous analysis.

It is during our first workshop that the blueprints for such work have been cast, where
four key zones of different qualities were defined and documented in an effort to capture
Makkah as a city in its entirety. These four different areas, each present alternative
qualities of Makkah within and beyond the scope of the Grand Mosque. The areas are
identified as Al Sharashif, Al Hujun, Al Haram and Al Misfalah. The varied natures of each of
these areas are thoroughly documented through the scope of their urban makeup, social
group inhabitation and in their relationship to the Grand Mosque. Studying them from the
civic scale and zooming into physically modeling the architectural typologies emblematic
of each of those areas, we now take a step back to relay the narratives of daily life in the
different shades of Makkah.

Makkah has long been a melting pot of cultures; a gathering space of different backgrounds,
and this eclecticism is most seen in its people whose qualities are conveyed through the
sometimes bold and sometimes nuanced gestures of architectural and spatial expression
and daily life rituals. To bring forth such assertions, we first pursue a historical trajectory of
research to contextualize the urban context of each of the areas explored. In doing so, we
aim to formulate precise evaluations that will help steer our assessment into the radical or
subtle transformations of space and re use of spaces and their evolution. To contextualize
the status quo, we equip ourselves with an arsenal to help engineer the framework of our

The output is charted across three vignettes that simultaneously operate as maps,
drawings, collages and infographic representations of embedded intelligence and research
findings. The vignettes portray strata of data at multiple scales to render impressions of
Makkah that are either instant or long lasting. The vignettes are both a construction and
deconstruction of the city, enabling to decipher the blueprints of Makkah as a collective whole. They present an experience, bridging the visible and invisible landscapes of the city.


Year 2 – 2016 

Building on the findings collected in the first year, students will continue in the spirit of being explorers by conducting their own site and field research but fed and aided by research previously gathered which will help fine tune ambitions on what to collect and gather. Consequently by making good use of previous findings, students will take the opportunity to research alternative aspects not previously gathered to generate a more holistic collection of research material.

The section outlines drawn in the first year will be used as a back drop for students to further detail and develop and project onto the city its anticipated image and future. Students will produce an alternative section but will be urged to consolidate and consider the section and images presented by first year students.


Year 1 – 2015

The first and inaugural workshop session will entail an in depth focus on field research, by spending time in Makkah, studying the city participating in local rituals and engaging with local residents, artisans, tradesmen and pilgrims and documenting findings via drawings, photography, film and collecting artifacts and compiling a unit wide journal of writing reflections and findings.

Simultaneously students will work on producing a plan of the sacred city, and based on the field research and engaging with the locals, the section lines will be cast at the most deemed interesting points and moments in Makkah. The blueprints for the section will thus be cast, and the outlines of the section are drawn and filled. Individually or in groups, students will also be asked to produce an image representative of their projected image of Makkah, which will then be incorporated into the section.