[size=32]Makkah Clock Tower[/size]Capturing the construction phase
A view of the Clock Tower under construction.
Saturday, 11 April 2015
At a height of 607 meters, it stands as the world’s third tallest building, dwarfed only by 632-meter-high Shanghai Tower and Dubai’s 828-meter-high Burj Khalifa.
Visitors to the holy city of Makkah have been wonderstruck by the stately magnificence of the Clock Tower, which holds numerous world records.
The $15 billion project, which took almost eight years to complete, is not only an architectural marvel but also a testimony to the Herculean efforts which went into its design, logistics and construction.
All of this has been captured on camera by SL Rasch, a German company, which also designed the tallest building in the complex.
Omer Faruk Aksoy, director of photography of the Clock Tower project, recalls the days and nights when he and his crew members took many life-threatening risks to film and shoot the various stages of the construction of the Makkah Clock Tower.
“Sometimes we were shooting in the rain, sometimes on chilly days, sometimes under a searing hot summer sun when the temperature often touched 50 degree Centigrade in Makkah,” Aksoy told Saudi Gazette during an exclusive interview in Jeddah recently.
It was a prestigious assignment for Aksoy, a celebrated photographer who has worked on “Haj: The Journey of a Lifetime” for BBC, filmed a documentary on Haj for the Discovery Channel and participated in an exhibition on Makkah and Madinah in London.
The task was Herculean, and so was the responsibility given to him personally by Sheikh Bakr Binladin, Chairman of the Saudi Binladin Group which built the tower.
The crew members had to be Muslims to work in Makkah, Aksoy said, adding that SL Rasch selected crews from Germany and Turkey for the project.
“We had to go up about 400 meters every day which took about 45 minutes from the makeshift lifts. Sometimes we used to go up on a platform fixed to a crane.
If it was a windy day, we had to postpone the shoot,” said Aksoy, a Turkish national, who has won several international photography and videography awards.
A panoramic view of Makkah.
Recalling an incident, he said that once they were filming atop a platform fixed to a crane some 400 meters above the ground, when they found that the screw linking the crane to the platform was becoming loose.
“We said our prayers and prepared for the worst. But the crane operator maintained his cool and slowly brought the platform to the floor of one of the stories of the under-construction tower.”
Everything linked to the project was enormous, Aksoy said. The clock, the largest in diameter in the world, is visible from 25 kilometers away.
Each face of the clock measures 46 meters in diameter and is decorated with thousands of gold-plated mosaics and more than 98 million pieces of glass mosaics.
The four faces of the clock are illuminated by more than two million LED lights. The top of the Clock Tower has a 94-meter spire with a 23-meter-high golden crescent.
The 35-ton mosaic gold crescent was constructed by a company in Dubai. Many of the heavy components of the Clock Tower were made abroad and shipped to Makkah.
Aksoy and his crew used helicopters to film and shoot the caravans of trucks carrying these heavy materials through the desert.
They were the first Muslim crew to use the world’s most sophisticated Cineflex HD camera, said the photographer, who has shot several TV commercials, documentaries and the famous Saudi TV comedy serial “Tash Matash.”
But this gigantic project was different. “Often I said to myself, this is the last time I am coming to the tower to shoot.
I can’t handle it anymore. I’m not young any more. The conditions are very hard. I will quit. But the next day I forgot everything,” said Aksoy, who is married to a Saudi doctor.
http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index...20150411240026Capturing the construction phase
Omar Faruk Aksoy filming the construction of the Makkah Clock Tower
One Clock motor being lifted up
Workers perched hundreds of feet above the ground fixing the arms of the clock.
The minute hand is 22 meters long and the hour hand is 17 meters long.
Workers fixing the steel frame of the Clock Tower.
There are more than two million LED lights to illuminate the faces of the clock.
The dome of the observatory dangling from a crane.
Piece of the crescent being fixed.
Parts of the crescent being fixed. The 35-ton mosaic gold
crescent was divided into 10 parts for shipment to Makkah.
Workers rejoice after fixing the crescent.