In a time where modern edifices of stark impressions seem to define our landscape, one has to wonder about
the stories behind these conceptual structures. From the bizarre to the mundane, modern architecture in Saudi
Arabia, and indeed the GCC, appears to be on a constant quest to redefine its identity. Yet, how far do our creative forces have to go in order to find a sound concept for a building structure? The answer may not require more than a consideration of what is truly authentic. Let us study the mind behind one of Jeddah’s most recognizable and appreciated landmarks: Tujjar Jeddah.
The word “tujjar” in Arabic translates and appreciated landmarks:
Tujjar Jeddah to “merchants”. The importance of naming the complex as such stretches back to the historical fact that Jeddah is a city of merchants. Sameer Bajunaid, the creative mind behind this impressively blissful and attractive location states, “Back in the day, merchants were eminent and their homes were identified by them. The concept of saying this is the house of so-and so, is a value we are bringing back to traders in Jeddah- through an office concept.”
The objective behind creating such a strong link to tradition for Tujjar Jeddah into preserve architectural designs and traditions of the Old City of Jeddah, while simultaneously representing the city’s traders in a modern, technologically advanced, in warm business environment.
Beyond the title and history, Sameer points out another main motivator to creating this milestone complex that joins both commercial and residential settings within one, is pride in neighbourly values. Sameer comments, “The concept of having a neighbour has sadly been lost.” He emphasizes the importance of creating a place that is reminiscent of traditional and historical Jeddah living. “In the old days, people lived in the same area they worked and their homes were connected to their neighbours, ” heads. That form of intimacy not only kept people connected on an emotionally communal level, but also in a progressive business level coupled with ethical business practices.
“The concept of saying this is the house of so-and-so, is the value we are bringing back to traders in Jeddah in an office concept.”
Tujjar Jeddah picks up where historic building structures of the city left off. Still standing today, the ancient houses of Jeddah resemble each other where architectural design, external outlook, internal divisions and constructional components are concerned. The internal ceilings of the houses are highly elevated, and the shapes of the rooms are similar. Internally, houses are also structured in a similar fashion where the master rooms are found on the upper floor and the sitting room on the ground floor usually on one side of the lobby or hall. Floors tend to range from between two to four.
Of course, what would a community complex be without a community center? The Mosque at Tujjar Jeddah is a simple, yet elegant structure with a traditional gold pear shape dome.
“The mosque remains the center point in our lives, where we gather. That is a vital part of society, the force it carries is important to us as creations of the Almighty. This also provides us with an opportunity to know our neighbours better,” adds Bajunaid. Also like the communities of Jeddah’s past, Tujjar Jeddah joins all buildings together into a single stretch or block, with easily accessible facilities that keep the community close and secure. Like the distinctive monuments within the city’s lineage, Jeddah folk have added Tujjar Jeddah to the list of the locations that define the city.
Bajunaid expresses pride in this outcome, as this take on his location was a desire sought after during the projects inception. He states, “Jeddah’s significance is in its notable landmarks. A true landmark of Jeddah is one that people can identify and use as a reference to describe a location within the citylike Bab Shareef in downtown Balad. ” Tujjar Jeddah has now joined the ranks of such a ncestralgreats.
Sameer Bajunaid wraps up his discussion on the rational behind creating this master full and mark by emphasizing on the story that it holds along with the integrity and belief that govern sit. He emphasizes on the impact of projects like Tujjar Jeddah on the city by affirming “a building is not only a structure; it is a landmark that must have integrity.
Its integrity is based on a belief. The people of Jeddah used to live like this along time ago, and we now have to rebuild the foundation of this city’s admirable past through such projects.”
“Jeddah’s significance is in its notable landmarks. A true landmark of Jeddah is one that people can identify and use as a reference to describe a location within the city like Bab Shareef in down town Balad.”