Al-Masjid al-Nabawī has undergone expansions throughout the centuries, but keeping up with the growing number of Hajj pilgrims has remained a challenge. The soaring temperatures, often surpassing 48°C during midday due to the region’s arid climate, further add to the discomfort experienced by the pilgrims.
In a collaborative effort between @SL_Rasch and SEFAR Architecture, an ingenious solution was devised to enhance the mosque’s natural micro-climate while preserving its original architectural essence. A remarkable forest of foldable sunshades, reaching nearly 20 meters in height, was meticulously planted around the mosque.
To ensure optimal shade and a favorable environment for the pilgrims, cutting-edge sunscreens were crafted using a specialized material called PTFE fabric. This material not only meets the stringent standards set by the client but also effectively withstands aggressive UV radiation. It boasts exceptional tensile strength against wind load, colorfastness, fire resistance, maximum flexibility, as well as providing effective shading and appropriate light transmission. As a result, these sunshades successfully reduced the temperature inside the mosque by a minimum of 8°C.
This innovative solution has significantly improved the comfort of the pilgrims, allowing them to seek solace and engage in their spiritual activities without the stifling heat hindering their experience. The integration of technology, architecture, and environmental consciousness has truly transformed Al-Masjid al-Nabawī, making it a haven of respite amidst the challenging climate.
The implementation of these giant foldable sunshades exemplifies the power of collaboration and innovative design in overcoming complex architectural and climatic challenges. This remarkable solution sets a new benchmark for combining functionality and preservation, ensuring the heritage and essence of the mosque are upheld while providing a more comfortable environment for the countless pilgrims who visit each year.