Last week, a Dubai-based news outlet, Al Arabiya, broke news that Premier Composite Technologies (PCT) is working on a sliding dome in Mecca that is believed to be the largest in the world. Composites Manufacturing has independently verified the story is true.
The dome will sit over a large inner courtyard of Mecca’s Grand Mosque. It is believed to be 36 meters in diameter and will drive on a moving system, with a double story arrangement of the lower dome and upper cladding. According to Djibril Waimer, Marketing and Events Coordinator at PCT, glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) panels are used to clad the roof’s structural steel frame. The frame is supported on four electric wheel drives that can slide to one side so that the courtyard can then be roofless, providing natural ventilation for the mosque. He adds that it is very similar to the ones built in Madinah.
“At night you usually have very pleasant temperatures to allow for natural ventilation rather than air-conditioning,” explained Gabi Bohm, Principal Architect at PCT.
Record-breaking feats of architectural composite construction are nothing new to PCT. The company has been done multiple projects for Apple, including the roof for the “theater” of Apple’s Campus 2. Apple said last year is the largest freestanding carbon fiber roof ever made. PCT was also responsible for the “solar wing” structures that highlight the architecture of Apple’s new store in Dubai.
PCT isn’t new to innovation in Mecca, either. A few years ago, the company created an elevated walkway there, which is believed to be the largest carbon fiber reinforced civil structure in the world. It has also built the concourse roof at Medina Station, which is part of Saudi Arabia’s high-speed rail link that connects the burial place of the Prophet Mohammed with Mecca and Jeddah.