Mecca Metro Line Station designed by GreenhilLi

Proposed station on Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Southern Line designed by Singaporean architects GreenhilLi


All images, graphics and information courtesy of GreenhilLi; © by GreenhilLi; See detailed credits at the end of the article

Singapore-based architectural practice, GreenhilLi was invited to be part of an international consortium to procure and develop a rail transit system for Mecca. This is their proposed design for one of the station types.

The challenge:

The Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the most significant events in the Muslim world to take place annually. It is a major undertaking for both pilgrims and organizers as over the 12-day event, Mecca and its surroundings are suddenly populated by millions of visiting pilgrims with accommodation and transportation needs presenting a daunting logistics challenge to the organizers and residents of Mecca.

The Ministry of Rural and Agricultural Affairs in Jeddah called for design build and operate tenders from international consortia to procure and deliver a rail transit system servicing the Hajj route. Invited by  Saudi contractor Al-Harbi Group and Bovis Lend Lease Singapore-based architectural practice GreenhilLi proposed a design for one of the station types to demonstrate the team’s understanding of the challenging brief.

A study of the potential passenger demand showed that the required system capacity would need trains over 300m long and corresponding platform lengths. It was clear that a conventional metro-style station circulation with a fare collection system, unpaid/paid demarcation areas and escalator/stair circulation means would not work in this context as it would slow down circulation too much. It was also clear that boarding and alighting passenger flows needed to be separated to maintain crowd control and organize circulation; therefore a side platform rather than island platform system was more practical. Further requirements for maintaining the existing road network to the sacred sites as well as minimizing impact on the terrain meant that the majority of the metro system had to be elevated directly above the road. The main challenge of the brief was the safe and efficient circulation of passengers at each destination; how to safely and efficiently enable passengers to alight, provide access to the sacred ground plane, cross the road and then to the boarding platform without any potential cross-flow in circulation.


The design:

GreenhilLi designed a series of 6 to 7 very wide and gentle step ramps distributed along the length of the station to provide access to the platforms from the ground level. An intermediate floor level was also introduced across the road and corresponding step ramps provided below the platform ramps. Several lifts distributed along the length of the station provided equitable access for the disabled and the elderly.


The circulation pattern is reflected in the double sinusoidal roof form, which peaks at each mouth of the ramps and lifts to reinforce way-finding. The rhythm of the circulation elements relating intrinsically to the geometry of the roof form acts as a strong visual cue to guide the pilgrims within the landscape back to the station. At the same time, the dominant horizontal undulation of the station roof maintains a harmony with the landscape, rather than compete with it. The wave roof profile is repeated on the opposite side, but slipped and alternating such that the circulation elements are diagonally opposite each other.


Elevation showing double sinusoidal roof form and corresponding circulation on both sides
Exploded view :
-Platform level: side platforms & ramps
-Intermediate level: foot bridges, ramps & services
-Ground level: road & viaduct supports
Circulation sequence:
greenhilli_mecca_021 Passengers arrive at alighting platform and proceed directly to ground via ramps
greenhilli_mecca_052 Passengers use foot bridges to cross the road via ramps
greenhilli_mecca_043 Passengers proceed from ground to boarding platform via ramps
4 Passengers depart from boarding platform
greenhilli_mecca_01Aerial view over the 300m long station
Ramps to intermediate level foot bridges are located below ramps to platform from ground. These ramps fork to accommodate lifts between.
greenhilli_mecca_12Skylights along the tracks filter daylight to the deepest part of the platform level and provide natural ventilation
greenhilli_mecca_10The roof form peaks at the circulation location to emphasis this and thrusts forward to provide more shade
greenhilli_mecca_08The undulating station roof maintains a harmony with the landscape

The brief generates a highly interesting design challenge which this design has provided a resoundingly response which fulfills the functionality with an architectural form that would have also served as a distinctive new representation for the Hajj and Mecca experience.


Architect: GreenhilLi

Contractor: Al Harbi Group
Project Management: Bovis Lend Lease
Structural Consultant: Buro Happold
Rail and Station Operations: SMRT Corporation (Singapore)
Systemwide Signaling: Westinghouse

7 comments to Mecca Metro Line Station designed by GreenhilLi

  • Beautiful design, liken to Mother Nature’s slender fingers
    caressing over the terrain, blending with the landscape.
    Most importantly you guys put Singapore in the international chart
    and giving SINGAPOREINC a resounding impression !

    Congratulations !

  • Tonye Tamuno

    GreenHilLi will ultimately become a world leader in complex innovative and abstract designs. This is a strangely unique masterpiece of optimal creativity: engineering design to meet with nature’s standards. Welldone Nigel and your team!!!

  • Patrick Sebastian

    The station is elegant in its simplicity. I liked the clear open view at the platform level. Very Impressive. My congratulations to Nigel, Sau Ki and your team on this design.

  • Hock

    The solution has an effective, sincere & elegant clarity to it 🙂 Congratulations GreenhilLi!

  • tom politowicz

    looks pretty good but what about the urban-context
    well done my Friend; Now go and build it; and finally get recognised; You deserve it


  • sayyed javad

    Dear Sir/Madam
    is it Possibel send to me more information about mecca metro about application and technical informations

  • admin

    Please contact GreenhilLi directly for further information.

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