Makkah (Mecca) - Saudi Arabia - Buro Happold

ClientJabal Khandama Development CompanyLocationSaudi Arabia
ConsultantBuro HappoldContract ValueEst >US$3 billion
Completion Date2014Website

Project Summary

This case study is based on the urbanisation project covering 60 ha in the immediate neighbourhood of Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

The site is on the western side of Khandama mountain, which overlooks the Holy Mosque of Al-Haram and the royal palaces. The proposed development includes a range of hotels, seasonal services and permanent residential apartments and retail shopping complexes. It creates efficient and safe pedestrian links to the Holy Mosque and compliments the surroundings of the Al Haram.


Buro Happold were commissioned to produce Earthworks, Road Design and to create a 3D landform model for master planning. Other services included utility coordination and geo-technical studies. Due to the extremely high number of Muslims that visit the Al Haram, be it for the annual pilgrimage to the Holy Mosque (during Ramadan) or simply daily prayer, there has become a need for long-term accommodation in the adjacent mountains.

Khandama, with a prime location looking down onto the Mosque, is ideal for both visitors and investors.

"As Saudi Arabia’s most populous region, Makkah is home to the cities of Mecca and Jeddah as well as numerous towns on the Red Sea coast. BuroHappold Engineering was commissioned to develop the Makkah Region Economic Development Strategy (MREDS) which aims to accelerate economic development and create employment across the area’s major urban centres, small towns and villages."

(Source: BuroHappold website)


The Challenge

"A large and varied region, Makkah’s economy was not balanced and disadvantaged small towns and booming big cities were largely disconnected...several enabling interventions [were necessary]. These included the upgradation of physical infrastructure, education and skills and the removal of restrictions on women’s participation in the workforce. [BuroHappold's] expert team also defined a need for an innovation ecosystem promoting university-industry partnerships, and outlined steps to support knowledge transfer from foreign to local companies and between local companies."

(Source: BuroHappold website)


The Solution

As the project is at the master planning stage, some of the design was of high- level and therefore did not require too much detail. The topography, required a detailed 3D model to understand the site's constraints, as well as the complexity of the project. 12d Model was used to create both an earthworks TIN and a finished surface TIN.

With height differences across the site of up to 120m, both the Architects and Engineers used this model to help with the design.

"...strategic planning and support culminated in the creation of an implementation roadmap. This will ensure the development of necessary organisational capacity, stakeholder alliances and financing mechanisms. A key aspect of the roadmap was the creation of a regional development board, along with a funding structure to support new ventures."

(Source: BuroHappold website)


The Result

"By developing an understanding of the unique demands and emerging opportunities within the region our expert team was able to develop a visionary growth strategy that will help Makkah to realise its enormous economic potential and become a true symbol of progress in the Middle East."

(Source: BuroHappold website)

Download this Case Study as a PDF HERE