Jeddah International Airport by OMA



OMA in the Middle East: Office for Metropolitan Architecture have designed a new international airport for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.


Located between Jeddah and Mecca, the airport will cater for the two million pilgrims who make the journey to Mecca during the holy Hajj period and features a special terminal for the Saudi Royal Family (top two images).


The main terminal is in the shape of a ring with an oasis at its centre and is configured to cope with a massive increase in visitor numbers during the Hajj, while the smaller Royal terminal echoes the form of the larger building.

Below is a statement from OMA:



For 33 days per year the new Jeddah Airport will host the influx of two million Muslims for the holy Hajj period in Mecca. No other airport in the world can claim such overwhelming specificity of its use. These programmatic requirements form the base for a new approach to both the organization of the airport and its architecture.


Predictability over indeterminacy
Airports come in two sizes: too big and too small. Fundamentally compromised by the necessity to accommodate unpredictable future expansions, airports are ultimately forced to ‘gamble’ on their right size. In terms of its design the airport is condemned to a permanent open end.


With the Hajj as one of the main defining elements, the new Jeddah International Airport presents a unique situation: its expansion is a given in advance, occurring at a fixed moment for a fixed length of time. This relative predictability allows the design of the Jeddah airport to acquire a level of specificity unheard of in a ‘regular’ airport: allowing the rehabilitation of the particular over the general, of centrality over linearity, and of character over blandness.


Arrival over departure
Airports are primarily places one leaves from. With the business trip and the vacation as the airport’s main, perhaps even only, use, the excitement of going away generally outweighs that of coming back.


This discrepancy is also expressed in the design of the airport, with departures generally located in a ‘grandiose space’ on top (mostly under a billowing roof) and arrivals located in a flat utilitarian luggage-collect-space below, making the first acquaintance with a new destination often one of disappointment.


The unique condition and purpose of the new Jeddah International Airport presents us with a compelling reason to consider arriving with the same consideration as leaving. (Mecca you don’t leave, to Mecca you go!)


The surface required by the Hajj equals that of the airport itself. Accommodating the Hajj theoretically means building the same volume twice, with one volume being empty for most of the year. In the current situation this is solved by having the Hajj section as a temporary structure in the form of a big tent.


Design Proposal.
The initial proposal resulted in six different schemes with an emblematic quality. The final design follows the organizing principal of ‘the ring’. Both the main terminal and Royal pavilion with their crescent-like shape enclose an internal oasis that can accommodate different forms of use. The layout of the airport is organized in such a way that Airport and Hajj become a single integrated whole without forcing the airport to double in size.


The design realizes departures and arrivals on the same level allowing both to benefit from the same spatial conditions. The realization of departure and arrival on a single level creates a large surface that equals that of the Hajj, allowing the Hajj to be accommodated on the same footprint as the airport itself. No longer realized as a separate section, the Hajj becomes the almost casual by-product of a particular airport design. The Hajj becomes the invisible twin that – at fixed moments – allows the airport to expand its size.


Project: International Airport for Jeddah
Status: Commission 2005
Client: Wthheld
Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Site: Desert btween Jeddah and Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Program: New International Airport with Hadj facilities and royal family terminal
Partner: Rem Koolhaas
Associate: Fernando Donis

Team: Gustavo Guimarães, Laurent Troost, Miho Mazereeuw, Katrin Betschinger, Joshua Beck, Haiko Cornelissen, Léonie Wenz, Filipe Balestra, João Amaro, Inge Goudsmit, Joao Ruivo, Ben Milbourne, Tiago Branco-Sampaio
Project: International Airport for Jeddah
Status: Commission 2005
Client: Wthheld
Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Site: Desert btween Jeddah and Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Program: New International Airport with Hadj facilities and royal family terminal

Partner: Rem Koolhaas
Associate: Fernando Donis
Team: Gustavo Guimarães, Laurent Troost, Miho Mazereeuw, Katrin Betschinger, Joshua Beck, Haiko Cornelissen, Léonie Wenz, Filipe Balestra, João Amaro, Inge Goudsmit, Joao Ruivo, Ben Milbourne, Tiago Branco-Sampaio


Posted on Thursday July 19th 2007 at 2:41 pm by Chantelle Lue. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • dekor

    ..first foto is the best..:))

  • tomas

    ..second is better

  • Amit Sisack


  • a

    Money is not an issue for these guys. I know the ‘economical factor’ is about third or fourth in their list of priorities when judging an arch competition.

  • shekh abdul

    wait till they see the price tag for all of those mile long escalators…

    • abdullah you think they care bout the prize tag??..and yes for your info they already approved the quote for the construction…tc

  • YUNG

    the second photo looks like a huge Marcel Wanders’ work.
    Do people really need such a fancy airport?

  • Ray

    Yung, yes they do, or should every building be designed in its most efficient and most mundane way?

    Come to Africa, and see what a place looks like where most things are done that way.

  • Jouri

    Thank God there will be a nice big airport :)

  • l. frazar

    Beautiful, who wouldn’t want end up here? REM couldn’t do his magic in NYC because everyone was so concerned with money. We got something watered down mundane and corporate looking.

  • eli

    amazing. beautiful design. love the concept of “arriving with the same consideration as leaving.(Mecca you don’t leave, to Mecca you go!)”. that’s what non-places need to be successful. intelligent approach to engage people within the space.
    i can see many portuguese names in this team. as a portuguese designer i feel truly flattered. congratulations.

  • Kariabettan Sugumar


    But, honestly, most of the people (Haji’s)
    will find it difficult to cope with the
    sophistication / Hitec arrangements…..





  • p

    images,images,images…an oasis inside…what a brilliant idea!
    imagenes, imagenes, imagenes…un oasis adentro…que idea brillante!

  • Irfan Mukadam

    Its really needed
    This will solve the current problem of crowd during the Haj and Umra seson
    I really appreciate the decesion to make such a big airport
    So in future the Haj’s wont have to stay in the heat

  • Pedro

    Hold on guys. The only fancy thing about this design is the little circle (looks like the royal terminal) but the other big circle where the cost will be, is not emphasized here. The problem with this design is that it will cost much more if it needs a little expansion as there is no room to do so.

  • Matrix

    hi guys…..anyone from south india here??

  • selbeeus

    all photos are good

  • MashaAllah, Yes, people those arrive in Jeddah deserve this type of facility to entertain them..and why not as they are the guest of Allah.

    I wish to see this!!!
    May Allah Protect Saudi Arabia

  • Waheed

    It is a very good design, but think how many people around the world are dying of hunger, diseases, and lot more. What a waste of money only for 11 days of hajj season. Not required

  • Jack

    An amazing design however i dont feel that the notion and intervention expressed on the exterior has been communicated and transfered to the same level within the interior of the building nor does the relationship between the royal pavilion and the main terminal suggest any narritive of how the royal pavilion has come to rest in its axis. Although, the proportion and overall notion for for the design and it programmatic criteria i believe is succesful, well done

    jack, Interior Arch Student, Victioria university of Wellington, New Zealand

  • After Beijing, Jeddah… Rem Koolhaas love the dictature !!!! Now, RK have just one principe : “money for my agency”
    I cant respect this guy !

  • Bill

    The circular design can be matched to the anticipated maximum airport/runways capacity, and as such does not need to be a more flexible semi circular design.

  • Crusader

    another masterpiece landmark by OMA just not in da right place :)

  • Naveel Arif Jameel

    Hey Guyz ………. isn’t it cool ….. i like that ……… and may be in the future i think that Jeddah will not look like Jeddah. It seems to be a commercial city of this kingdom….

    I really like this project …….


    Naveel Arif Jameel
    Assistant Marketing Manager
    Binzagr Coro LTD.

  • Zainab Ilyas

    does any body here knows as to why the older hajj terminal of jeddah is being replaced with this new fancy one??? does the old one lacks the capacity or is the design and the fabric covered waiting area of the airport proving to be a nuisance. What is it that has compelled the authorities to take such a decision??

    Zainab Ilyas,
    final year architecture,

  • I want job in jeddah airport

  • Haneen

    i’m from jeddah and those plans were presented years ago but we haven’t seen any construction going on…we haven’t even heard of any progress after the display of these pictures….anyone has any idea if the project is still on or was it cancelled? plz don’t give us false hope…we’re done.

  • Dear Sir,

    I must say thanks to entire team who created such a wonderful design and thoughts as well, CONGRATULATION to them all.

    I am working in Jeddah Marriott as Senior Sales Manager, appreciate if you please send me some contact to approach the right pepple to know if we can assist them to bring this dream true.
    Thanks and best Regards

  • Nice design but Seeing is Believing. Once this airport is erected then someone can say something, however, it seems the project is just a MIRAGE.

  • AK

    My name is azizkhan am pakistani but i born in saudi arabia, 24 year old not married, above 3 year exprince in creative team i got knowlegde as i get to become a proffesional, i used such a software like a adobe collection illustrator, photoshop, indesign, after effect, and premire, and also i using 3dmax for modeling and animation. if ur interseted it i will make ma potfolio.
    thank you
    best regards

  • Akhtar Hassan

    This is not good for Jeddah peoples but it is good for piligrims it is not good for jeddah people because it will be far from jeddah and it is good for hajis because makkah is near

  • Isidora Costabal

    I want to khow if there is a chance , that you have the planimetri of the proyect, to do an university study of this infraestructure an arquitecture

    if you have it , please send it to my mail please , urgent !!!

  • M.Ibrahim Khan

    Thanks God to see the greatest development of Islamic country,it is one of the greatest progress and it will be more usful durying Hajj season.
    May Allah save K.S.A

  • All the photos are good.

  • stunning piece of engineering yet again

  • etyuuytytiuuit

    i think that they will make jeddah the most famous city in the world. they are constructing so many yhings.