urbanphenomena: design+research

Jeddah Architectural Guide|CM /10


مركز الجمجوم التجاري

Jamjoom Commercial Centre

 1985  S.E.S | Studio Valle – Rome (Concept & Planning) + Architekturbüro Rödl – Kieferle (Design Development & Const. Details)
54.4 m 12 Floors
 125,000 m² + 30,000 m² (Parking) 53,545 m² (Site)


At its completion, the gigantic Jamjoom Commercial Centre (JCC) was rumoured to be the 2nd widest building façade in the world. What has been considerably one of the most dominant figures in the city skyline for the past thirty years, the JCC impresses with its sizable numbers associated with this behemoth of a building. Costing just below the 1 billion Saudi Riyal mark at its completion in 1985 it is the largest mixed-use complex of its type in the region. Comprising of a 3 level podium of commercial outlets and shops, plus 9 floors of residential and office space divided into 3 main blocks sitting above the main podium. The main feature of which is a sleek glass façade providing panoramic views of the Red Sea shore, which at the time of completion, was one of the most sought after corporate address in Jeddah.

Initial schematic designs were developed by the Rome based Studio Valle, a prominent architectural practice established by Italian architect Tommaso Valle under the guidance of his father, the urbanist Cesare Valle in 1957. After the 2nd World War period, Valle emerged as one of the celebrated Italian urbanists collaborating in the drafting of urban plans for the city of Rome and other emerging cities in the country. The studio used this influence to gain a stronghold representing Italy on the international scene, which culminated with the office designing the Italian Pavilion at Expo 1970 Osaka. BY the end of the 1970s the office had already made several contributions to the architectural landscape of Jeddah, designing such iconic buildings as the Kaaki Hotel in Kandarah, and the Tihama HQ Building on Andalus Road. A reflection perhaps of an era with many Italian contributions to the development of modern Jeddah that took place from the 1960s onwards. An era that has witnessed many significant sculptures by Italian artists, such as Arnaldo Pomodoro and Pietro Cascella dotting the public roundabouts and open air piazzas along the corniche.

Sadly, it seems that perhaps the Jamjoom Commercial Centre would be the culmination of this flurry of activity in the development of Jeddah, as it also signified a breakdown/watershed moment for the work of the office. Studio Valle developed the architectural concept and site planning of the project, however, for unknown reasons, the developer handed over the design development and construction drawings to Stuttgart based architecture firm Rödl-Kieferle. Who at the time where one of the largest firm in West-Germany with an expanding portfolio of work in Saudi Arabia and the Middle-East. The German firm worked closely with the contractor, who was also a German company, Dusseldorf based Thyssen Rheinstahl Technik GmbH throughout the 2 year construction period of the project. An enormous task in an era predating the use of computer drafting in architecture.

1 a a a a a Final plans-01

Jamjoom from K&P Book(final)Image courtesy of Kieferle & Partner.
Rödl-Kieferle: Building and projects since 1958. 25 Year Anniversary Edition, 1983. Stuttgart.

Artboard 1

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This entry was posted on November 9, 2016 by in Jeddah Architectural Guide, Uncategorized.
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