WAN Awards 2015


WAN Mobile
WAN Mobile
Previous Next

Nobel Qur’an Oasis Competition, Saudi Arabia

Tuesday 15 Jul 2014

Invited competition results in tie

Top to bottom: Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura; Gerber Architekten 
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 0

Add comments | More comments

Be the first to comment


Bofill and Gerber Architekten tie in Nobel Qur’an Oasis competition in Saudi Arabia 

An invited competition to create a landmark Islamic cultural center in the Saudi Arabian desert has resulted in a tie for first place between Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura and Gerber Architekten.

Located outside of Medina, the project unites a combination of program spaces to create a global center for Islamic education and religious knowledge, including a museum, research center, educational component, library and cafes.

The project is intended to restore the historic holy city of Medina to its former prominence as a globally recognized Islamic culture center. Bofill and Gerber Architekten bested entries by gmp architecten and Zaha Hadid.

The Bofill scheme takes its inspiration from the first Islamic City and features a series of covered circular forms with a palm oasis in the foreground and fruit trees and native plants irrigated by a system of water canals to create a micro climate.

A traditional pattern of courtyards and narrow streets meshed within the structure encloses generously sized spaces, which define this center for the research, study and transmission of the Nobel Qur’an as a unique place strongly related to Al-Amdinah Al-Munawarah and its environment.

The complex is designed with simple, pure lines with the goal of creating a calm environment for the study and research of the Nobel Qur’an. At the heart of the complex is a library that will contain books scrolls and manuscripts.

The scheme by Gerber Architekten is envisioned as a ‘hidden garden’ that contrasts with the harsh desert that surrounds it. The composition creates a dynamic series of spaces with changing exposure between light and dark to produce a variety of experiences for visitors.

At the center of the site is a plaza that features a sculptural form and a subterranean ‘acoustical chamber’ below. The latter is a large cave-like vault intended as a bright and awe-inspiring conclusion to a lengthy and dark approaching journey.

This void is reached by a series of underground passageways approaching from various points at the site that will hold exhibitions and progressively become darker as the the visitor journeys through them.    

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

Key Facts

Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
WAN Editorial

More projects by this architect

WAN AWARDS: Mixed-Use Award 2014

Shop Talk: Richard Coleman

WAN AWARDS: Product Innovation award 2014

Brick by William Hall

WAN AWARDS Residential winners 2014

More Projects


Click here to view the NEWS IN PICTURES tablet site