I just read recently that The Hajj Terminal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, designed by SOM, has been selected to receive the 2010 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Twenty-Five Year award. The AIA Twenty-five Year Award recognizes an architectural project that has stood the test of time ( 25 years). The space serves as a gateway for millions of pilgrims who journey to the holy city of Mecca each year.
The Hajj Terminal is a tented structure that covers 120 acres and 2.8 million square feet and accommodates massive groups from all over the world in a short timeframe.
The idea of tents cities and sheltering massive amounts of people makes me think alot about what is going on in Haiti. I think its great to see all the news from around the world about people and groups donating and making tents to send to Haiti but what Haiti needs is large scale fabric structures that are designed for hurricane wind forces and the expected rain.
There are advantaged to sheltering large groups of people in long span structures. Like the Haj, these tensile fabric structures filter out heat and allow in light creating an open air gathering place for a variety of applications (schools, markets, play areas, etc.). It can also be designed to use natural breezes to ventilate and cool the space.
The Haj Terminal is used as a warm and inviting space. Don’t you think the Haitian could use a place like this too?