GFA 17.400 m2, 35 millions USD, 6 storeys Design: Mattia Malavenda in collaboration with Tarik Alireza and Associates Clients: Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, Governorate of Medina, Samaya Holding
The Project consist in the renovation of an existing unfinished building, located in Medina at the the edge of the Haram Plaza, right in front of the east side of the Holy Prophet’s Mosque.
The main challenge of the Project is to transform the existing building, previously designed and built for hospitality functions (Hotel), into a Museum.
The Assalam Museum will be one of the most visited museums of Saudi Arabia because of its exceptional location: the Holy Mosque’s presence and proximity, attraction point for millions of international and local worshippers every year.
To be able to allow an internal flow of 4 millions of expected visitors every year and to host quality exhibition spaces (with reasonable ceiling heights), two main operations are conducted to the building.
Adapting the existing building to the new function of Museum require first, a new expansion (north side) to enlarge the entrance hall and dedicated to the vertical transportation and second, the disassembly of intermediate floor slabs to double the height of the exhibition floors.
The Project include another expansion above the roof level containing an indoor panoramic (360°) walkway as a part of the exhibition tour, taking benefit by the view of the Mosque from above and the City of Medina all around.
The Museum's theme is about the life of the Propheth, the Holy Mosque and the city of Medina and the exhibition is distributed along two galleries (1350 m2 each) on two floors and the panoramic level (930 m2).
The historical researches and interpretative planning are conducted by by Avesta in coordination with the project Sponsor, Samaya Holding.
The exhibition design, realized by Atelier Bruckner, consist in an immersive experience through the displaying of artwork and historical objects, also with the use light projections, physical models, holograms and other advanced technologies.
Notable is the strong interaction between architecture and exhibition design as resulting, for example, in the Biblioteque at the second gallery where the scenographic book shelves consist in a cilindric volume 15 metres high and for which slabs of 3 different floors have been removed.
Particular concern is regarding the crowd management and related health and safety issues. In fact, to regulate the flow of 1,8 millions of visitors expected during the 3 months of high peak season the vertical trasportation consist in escalator systems at the north (flow up) and south side (flow down) of the building.
The rooftop level, or also called panoramic walkway, is part of the exhibition tour and provide a breathtaking view of the Prophet's Mosque and the surrounding areas of Medina, anyway it is possibile to be visited singularly by using a dedicate glass elevator from the ground floor entrance hall directly to the roof level.
The Museum's offices and services are distributed between the mezzanine floor (admin and curatorial staff) and the basement (technical staff, artifacts storages, archives and canteen).
The facade of the building is object of discussion since the pre-design stage and the decision of maintaining the existing style, instead of a modern Architecture option, is also because the building have been contructed togheter with a "twin", just beside, crossing the Assalam road, who has the same architectural features.
This two building are going to simbolize the new Assalam Gate, the old entrance to the Haram Plaza, demolished in the 80s to allow the expansion of the Holy Mosque.
The project is approved in May 2019 by the Governor of Medina in the person of HRH Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Addullaziz Al Saud and currently is under construction.