Makkah Royal Clock Tower, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Makkah Royal Clock Tower complex, also known as the Abraj Al-Bait Towers, located near Masjid al Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is a mixed residential and hotel complex. Construction started in 2004 and finished in 2012.
The building structure spreads over seven towers erected above podiums. The tallest tower adorned with the Makkah Royal Clock stands 601m high above ground, which makes it one of the ten tallest skyscrapers in the world.
The massive building project was developed as part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project, which aimed to modernise the city to offer world-class accommodations for the increasing number of visitors and residents of the Holy City of Makkah.
Saudi Binladin Group is the developer of building Makkah Royal Clock Tower project. The architectural design contract for the complex was awarded to Dar Al-Handasah in 2001.
Site, structure and design of Makkah Royal Clock Tower
The site for the tower complex is spread over 23ha south of the Masjid al Haram. The historic Ottoman-era Ajyad Fortress was demolished to make way for the tower. The complex has a built-up area of 2.8 million m2 (21.5 million ft2).
The seven towers of the building rest upon a 15-storey and 115m-high podium, which houses a grand retail area. The tallest tower housing the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel is located in the middle of the building structure. The other six towers - Hajar, ZamZam, Maqam, Qibla and Marwah - are situated to the sides of the clock tower.
The heights of the accompanying towers vary between 200m and 300m, while the number of floors range between 42 and 48.
The Mohammadia Mega Mosque, also known as the Djamaâ el Djazaïr mosque, will be built on a 218,525m² (54 acres or 21.8ha) site located east of the present historical centre in the Mohammadia area near the Bay of Algeria. It will be the third largest mosque in the world after the Mecca and Media mosques. The main attraction of the mosque will be a 265m-tall minaret.
The Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel is a 120-storey structure. It is described as both the tallest hotel and the tallest clock tower in the world. The clock, measuring 43m × 43m on each above the hotel tower, stands out as the largest clock face in the world. The clock faces are illuminated by around two million LED lights.
The tower features a 71m-tall spire above the clock that raises the building height to 601m above ground. In addition, a 23m-high crescent made of fibreglass-backed mosaic gold is mounted at the top of the tower. The top 200m of the clock tower is clad with fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) composite panels.
Facilities at Makkah Royal Clock Tower Complex
The Makkah Royal Clock Tower complex houses residential towers for permanent residents, a five-star hotel operated by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts for accommodating the Hajj pilgrims, and the Abraj Al Bait shopping mall. The building offers parking space for more than 1,000 vehicles.
Other facilities at the tower complex include an Islamic Museum, a Lunar Observation Centre and a large prayer room with a capacity for more than 10,000 people.
The residents of the tower complex usually perform formal prayers five times a day. The efficient people flow solution provided by Kone for the building complex allows up to 75,000 residents from all the seven towers to exit the building via podiums during each prayer time in an organised manner.
The podium has 79 elevators and 111 extra heavy-duty Transvario escalators. The clock tower features 94 elevators and 16 extra heavy-duty Transvario escalators. The adjacent towers have 12 elevators including two helipad elevators and six extra heavy-duty Transvario escalators.
Contractors involved with Makkah Royal Clock Tower Project
The structural engineering services for the building complex were provided by Dar Al-Handasah. The upper portion of the clock tower (from a height of 450m up to the top) was designed by the German architecture firm SL Rasch.
The facade cladding for the tower top and the clock installation was performed by Premier Composites Technologies (PCT) of Dubai, UAE. Gurit supplied the composite materials used for the tower's top facade.
The huge clock fitted on top of the building was provided by the German tower clock manufacturer PERROT.