Perhaps nothing is a better illustration of the connections between Jeddah and Yemen (and the lack of historical ones between Jeddah and Nejd) than the city's architecture. There are many buildings that are several stories high in the traditional areas of Jeddah, mirroring the same construction technology that allowed for the mud skyscrapers of Yemen to the south. Another characteristic are the mashrabiyas (latticed screens) and ruwash (the latticed boxes) that cover the houses. These are intended to provide ventilation while also shading the interior of the house, and are intricately carved and manufactured in the tradition of Cairo or Damascus rather than Riyadh. The wealthy houses feature carved doors and stonework, evidence of the wealth and social position of the families who commissioned them.
The last few years, witnessed a new architectural trend that was trying to combine modern architecture with the Arabic style. The interest in architectural heritage has gone beyond academic studies and researchers to the official and popular interests.
The new trend is trying to re-discover aesthetic and powerful aspects represented in the great architectural models that have been existing in our Arabic heritage and to link them functionally and aesthetically with the modern architecture in a bid to improve the architectural taste in our Arabian cities, by means of using modern technology within the form of a new Arabic architectural trend. Some construction offices in the Kingdom have taken up this task on their shoulders. Now some architectural models containing all elements of solidity, aesthetic, and cultural individuality have started to emerge. A new born building movement bearing local architecture features is now eminent and quite promising.
Each type of these residence has its own characteristics and specification that are reflected negatively or positively on the kind of man's life in Jeddah. The people of Jeddah are known to be ambitious and eager to catch up with the rapid development of the society. In an age characterized by scientific technologies, which tremendously effect human life. It is therefore the duty of the city planners and building designers to have an artistic sense inspired from the Arab architectural principles, the traditions and the convention of our people and their heritage.
Residential buildings in Jeddah are classified into four types:
The Public Houses- such houses are lacking in essential facilities like water, electricity, telephone and sufficient number of rooms.
Conventional Single Houses- this type is characterized by the Arab form, for the design is suitable for the simple Arab life in its appearance with many decoration to give a deep sense that the owner of the house is in much need of calmness and isolated style of life.
The Villa- is an independent house, separated from nearby houses and surrounded by gardens. This type of house consists of many rooms with windows overlooking the outside view and allowing sunlight and ventilation in. each room serves for a certain purpose like sitting, dinning and sleeping for parents and their children.
In each building there are basic facilities of electricity, drinking water, air conditioners, telephones, televisions, plus receivers etc. All these specifications indicate the style of living in such houses, that gives the feeling of comfort, and allows natural, physical and mental development for all family members. Such houses lack some positive aspects.
a. Refrain from traditions.
b. Isolation from the neighboring houses.
The Flat- is an apartment in a building that contains many floors, with many rooms, all are open to the outside, through the windows that allow sunlight and ventilation. This type lacks the availability of gardens and interior halls leaving the following effects on the dwellers:
a. Sense of isolation.
b. Noise from the neighboring flats and the street.
c. Children playing in the street.
d. Occasional disharmony with neighbors.
At present, local architecture of Jeddah city, has a big influence on the development and growth of the family and society. The residence represents the shelter and place for comfort after a long working day, as well as a factor for preserving family's property. The state of living in a traditional house is different from that of living in a block of building or in a villa. This explains the relationship between the type of residence and the function of its components on one hand and the style of life of the family living there, on the other hand. The creativity of the Saudi people were never hindered by the hard living style that limited the needs of former generations. The Saudi innovations surpassed the essential needs of daily life to the luxury which has developed to become a necessity.
Residential style has become today a criteria for indicating the family's status and social positions.
The rest of the rooms were extended lengthways towards the inside, in large houses, the reception place had independent suites and large halls. The upper floors were exclusively for the families' accommodation.
Basic Features of the Local Style of Building in Jeddah, Past and Present
The local design and construction of buildings in Jeddah city are classified in accordance with variety of architectural types, materials of building, decoration and adornments, in addition to types of material coating the walls and the roofs altogether in accordance with the periods of time during which these buildings were constructed and according to internal and external cultural influences.
The most distinguished feature in the old style of building in Jeddah city is the wooden Roshan (bay window), that covered most of the facades. By virtue of this fine wood work, ventilation into the house is allowed without being seen from outside. The width of the Roshan was about two meters which gives enough room for sitting by an individual. This type of windows had a special status during social and family meetings. The houses were varied in size in accordance with the size and social position of the family. Small houses always had special entrances near one or more commercial places and a meeting place for men, especially on the side of the street.
The Arabic architecture has occupied prominent position in the architectural history, throughout ages, as a unique model, embracing all special aesthetic characteristics, comprehensive technical structure and constructural solidity that coincide with the environmental living requirements of the population. The Arabic architectural arts, were able to meet all considerations relating to climactic, social and economic factors.
Architectural arts are the images that express the social, geographical and cultural individuality of a given society, representing, in general, the artistic standards attained by a certain culture in the hierarchy of civilization.
Despite its artistic magnificence, architecture largely depends on accurate calculations and measurements so that the artistic touch is married to the accuracy of perfection, giving individual features to any given architectural art like the Arabic architecture that was distinguished throughout all ages and gave huge mass of architectural art of different schools.
Architecture is the art, civilization and nation's inheritance. It is the beautiful face, that develops every nation and reflects progression of ages lived by those nations. Architecture is the most elevated of arts.
Most houses in the kingdom have high walls surrounding it.
But this Villa is unique,,the owner went through a lot building this cover over his own house so that the next building would not have a chance to take a peek at his house(maybe his pool where he has his family swimming).
It looks like an airplane hangar,,,it`s not finished yet as you can see in the picture,,i`m guessing it must costed him a fortune so he`s building slowing as soon as he has the cash for it!!!!
The era of great expansion in buildings witnessed by areas of the Kingdom used incoherent architectural styles thus causing the city to lose its distinguished architectural form.
The local architecture prevailed in many cities and villages in the Arabian Peninsula are in line with the Arabic architecture in form and context.