Jeddah Abandoned auditorium of Qasr Al Saqqaf in Makkah. Photo by AA Jeddah


Makkah vs Makkah

Thursday 7 – Sunday 17 December 2017

AA Jeddah returns for a third year of exploring the Holy City of Makkah, venturing into uncharted territory and witness the city beyond the confines of the Haram and progressing through the back doors and alleyways to find the hidden treasures that have nurtured the identity and spirit of Makkah. 

Participants will collectively work to record and represent both the visible and invisible landscapes of the city while exploring the everyday life of both inhabitants and pilgrims. Building on the sections cast in our first year, and models created in our second year, we set a challenge to project a proposal casting an alternative reading of the city, casting a critical reading of its present, acknowledging its past and projecting into its future.
The workshop features a rare opportunity to enjoy unparalleled access to the restricted sites of Makkah and to participate with local artists, architects and professionals across many disciplines in the Gulf’s first global architectural workshop focussing on Makkah.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed
- A unique opportunity to attend the first architectural workshop of its kind in the untapped territory of Saudi Arabia.
- To be part of an event that has become a highlight in the Jeddah and Middle East design calendar, with collaborations and partnerships with bodies across the region from Kuwait, Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.
- Lecture series: Lectures are presented throughout the duration of the workshop. The lecture series explores a wide array of architectural and cultural topics, which are delivered by architects, designers, economists and local policy makers. This aims to embolden the students’ work with a deep and rich source of architectural knowledge from an architectural standpoint as well as from an alternative perspective.
- Cultural events and excursions. Trips into Makkah will allow students unparalleled access into sites around the Holy Mosque and city, usually not open to the public. Site visits are not restricted to Makkah, but also venturing out in Jeddah and its surroundings.
- Software exposure: Students will be will be able to develop and supplement their CAD and 3D skill-set with workshops and regular exposure to Rhinoceros, the Adobe Creative Suit and presentation tools with the help of a CAD technician with many years of experience In the industry.
- Teaching team: The teaching staff comprises of working architects and past graduates of the AA, based both in Saudi Arabia and internationally. The high tutor to student ratio allows the opportunity for students to directly engage with persons from all over the world whom have worked for some of the largest and most sought after architectural practices.


1) You can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the AA Visiting School page. If you are not able to make an online application, email for instructions to pay by bank transfer.

2) Once you complete the online application and make a full payment, you are registered to the programme.

Please note applicants should check their visa entry status into Saudi Arabia. All applicants must notify the AA of their travel arrangements upon applying for the visiting school, in order to arrange visa issuance with the Ministry of Interior. 

All participants are reponsible for their own insurance including travel and health insurance. All participants also need to ensure that any equipment and valuable items such as laptops are covered by their own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen.

Effat University
P.O.BOX 34689
Jeddah 21478
Saudi Arabia


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £850 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee.
Fees do not include flights or accommodation, but accommodation options can be advised. Students need to bring their own laptops, digital equipment and model making tools. Please ensure this equipment is covered by your own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen at the workshop.

The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, phd candidates and young professionals. Software Requirements: Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino (SR7 or later) / or an equivalent CAD Drafting software.

Programme Heads

Hussam Dakkak is an architect based in London, and is currently practicing at Squire and Partners. Hussam is also co-founder and partner at Studio Bound (a multidisciplinary design and research studio based between Jeddah, London and Kuwait), working on projects between Europe, and the Gulf.

Basmah Kaki is an architect based between London and Jeddah. She received her Diploma in Architecture from the AA. She was awarded the RIBA Bronze President’s Medal, the SOM Foundation Travelling Fellowship and the Design Council award. Basmah has worked in London with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Sir Peter Cook. She is Programme Head of the AA Jeddah Visiting School and is also co founder and partner at Studio Bound, a multidisciplinary design and research studio based between Jeddah, London and Kuwait.

Hessa Al Bader is an architect based between London and Kuwait. She earned her architectural degree from the AA, where her final thesis was awarded an honourable mention in the Dennis Sharp writing prize. She is currently working with Wafra Real Estate in Kuwait, her previous experience includes working with AGi (Kuwait) and BDP (London). Hessa also serves as Programme Head of the AA Jeddah Visiting School and is also co-founder and partner at Studio Bound, a multidisciplinary design and research studio based between Jeddah, London and Kuwait.


Programme Heads
Hussam Dakkak
Basmah Kaki
Hessa Al Bader

Visiting School Director

Christopher Pierce

T +44 20 7887 4014
F +44 20 7414 0782

Links & Downloads

Programme site

Social Media


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Visiting School Prospectus


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