With Kingdom Holdings as one of its two major owners, there is strong interest in the development of more Four Seasons Hotels in the Middle East. In 2016. Four Seasons was approached by Jabal Omar Development Company (JODC) to develop a Four Seasons in Mecca, the most important destination for the world’s Muslim population.
In order to assemble the design team for such a special project, JODC elected to run a design competition. Miller elected to represent Four Seasons in that process, sitting on the jury.
Miller and the JODC team worked closely together to assemble a design brief to guide the work fo the 4 contestants. The site has distinct functional challenges with its shape, and significant grade change from back to front.Miller and JODC also agreed that such a special site demanded a solution of the highest architectural integrity to its location, with an aspiration to create a building of a new architecture that would respectfully synthesize the best of modern design with unique Arab cultural traditions.
The presentation by Foster + Partners made the selection of them a unanimous choice. The design elegantly resolved the first basic hotel design challenge of giving every guestroom a view of the Grand Mosque. The building is composed of a series of tube structures, inspired by the scale of traditional local villages, to grow vertically into a significant modern high-rise structure. The proposed facades, largely of stone, with a variety of punched windows, while clearly a modern rendition, are respectful of local architectural tradition, and a refreshing change from modern glass and steel architecture.
The project is currently under design development and is assured to be an elegant addition to the Four Season portfolio and a significant contribution to modern Arab architecture.