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Functioning as a planeterium and sundial, the dwelling is excavated into the earth. Drawing from Nubian rituals, past and present, the dwelling crafts a relationship between celestial bodies and earth. Framing the expansive landscape of the sky and the minute details of the earth. Using crevices in the landscape and the roof to carve out daily function, light is manipulated to form space. Sometimes a light well, other times a frame that captures fragments of shifting geographies.


Daily prayer (salat) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Salat begins with ritual ablution (wudhu) as preparation for prayer. Muslims pray facing the qiblah (direction of Mecca), often indicated in mosques by a mihrab (niche in the wall). Fridays and holidays like Eid include performance of other types of salat.

Muslims are required to perform five daily prayers. The first prayer takes place before sunrise, followed by a prayer at midday; the third is at mid- afternoon, another after sunset, and the final prayer when the sky grows dark. The salat provides a regular interruption of the day’s activities in order to focus the mind and heart on the first priority of life, service to God.

Muslims prepare for prayer by performing ritual ablutions, called wudu. This begins with washing of the hands, followed by rinsing of the nose and mouth, washing of the face, ears, arms, hair, and finally ending at the feet. It is a complete ritual washing that prepares the worshipper physically for the prayer.

Facing the qiblah, the direction of Mecca, worshippers stand to begin the prayer. They state their intentions, raise their hands, and pronounce “Allahu akbar” (God is greater). This is followed by recitation of Qur’an, corresponding to each of the four postures of salat which are standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting. After standing, worshippers move into bowing, and recite “subhana rabbiyal azim” (“Transcendent is my Lord, the Mighty”). This is followed by prostration of the face, hands, and feet on the ground while reciting, “subhana rabbiyal a’laa” (“Transcendent is my Lord, the Most High”). While the salat begins with extolling the transcendence of God, it ends with sending royal praises to God, as if worshippers have entered into His presence. The worshipper formally exits from salat by proclaiming peace on both the right and left sides while in the sitting position. The entire cycle of prayer—its pronouncements and postures—is a concrete expression of the Muslim’s submission, inner and outer, to the service, adoration, and path of God.

Hospitality Ritual

Bedouin kahwa is a strong aromatic coffee made with cardamon powder, saffron and rosewater.

Serving coffee to visitors is an age old custom derived from Bedouin hospitality traditions and an important part of Saudi Arabian generosity. The ritual of coffee serving is called gawha and is bound by rules of etiquette.

In the presence of his guests, the host will roast, cool and grind the beans. Using a mortar and pestle, he will add cardamom pods in equal or more measure to the coffee beans during the grinding process. When the coffee is brewed, the host pours for his guests – traditionally only men. Unsweetened, fresh dates, are served with the coffee. The Bedouins have a saying that translates to "he makes coffee from morn till night." It is a way of describing a generous man, and no greater praise can be given.

Variously known as Qahwah Saadah (Bedouin coffee), this brew comes to us through the mists of time. It's flavored with cardamom – sometimes called Grains of Paradise – and optionally with sugar. There are as many varied recipes as there are Bedu tribes to serve them.

Al Hagalla Dance Ritual

Hagalla is a desert folk dance performed in desert Bedouin areas. The dance has a unique style than other folkloric dances. It originates from various cities in Egypt and Libya. The Bedouin Samer is a celebration or social event for all Bedouin occasions, including religious holidays and weddings, in which the Hagalla is performed.

In the Hagalla Dance Ritual, a female soloist dancer performs the Hagalla Dance, leading the stage with smooth movement, the men following her to get her attention. She has the most powerful performance on the stage.

The men in dance and clap in rhythm with the music and the singer, their steps coordinated with the music. The clapping and steps follow the tempo of the singer. Men stand separately on one side, and women separately on the other. The men tribe clap and sing in unison, while the woman dances. The dancer is often a member of the family of the bride. Haggal is about women showing their strength, beauty and grace.

The Libyan Haggal is performed for a girl’s coming-of-age. She covers her head and face with a scarf. She can stop opposite one of the young men to give him the end of her scarf for her to dance around him. In the following drawing, the procession of the ritual is investigated.

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