In an unsuccessful attempt to win the Noble Qur’an Oasis competition in Saudi Arabia, Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo designed an incredible flowing structure inspired by Arabic calligraphy and the holiest book of Islam. Mindful of the powerful desert sun, the designers, following other Arab architects, opted to build the structure’s private and public spaces in a cluster-like formation, with only small gaps between buildings to minimize the amount of sunlight that would be able to penetrate through the ceilings. The complex’s buildings are woven together in a loose and elegant way. From above, the structure resembles Arabic calligraphy with an abstract twist.
Mecanoo was also guided in their designs by the Qur’an. In this holy Islamic text, mountains are revered. The designers sought to create the effect exploring a mountain range within the confines of the complex via very high walls. According to the proposal, upon entering the structure, the building “reveals itself as a vessel for the knowledge of the Qur’an.”