Architecture

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower to claim world’s tallest building title

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower t...
The Kingdom Tower will stand over one kilometer tall
The Kingdom Tower will stand over one kilometer tall
View 9 Images
The Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece of Kingdom City
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The Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece of Kingdom City
The Kingdom Tower rises from a three-petal footprint design
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The Kingdom Tower rises from a three-petal footprint design
The Kingdom Tower will stand over one kilometer tall
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The Kingdom Tower will stand over one kilometer tall
The Kingdom Towers sky terrace
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The Kingdom Towers sky terrace
The Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece of Kingdom City
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The Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece of Kingdom City
The Kingdom Towers sky terrace
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The Kingdom Towers sky terrace
The Kingdom Tower is designed to evoke a bundle of leaves shooting up from the ground
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The Kingdom Tower is designed to evoke a bundle of leaves shooting up from the ground
The Kingdom Tower
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The Kingdom Tower
The Kingdom Tower will stand over one kilometer tall
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The Kingdom Tower will stand over one kilometer tall
View gallery - 9 images

Chicago-based firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill (AS+GG) has officially been announced as the design architects for the Kingdom Tower that is to be built in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Initially planned to stand one mile (1.6 km) high and be called the Mile-High Tower, the building was scaled down after soil testing in the area in 2008 cast doubt over whether the location could support a building of that height. Now the building will stand over 0.62 miles (one kilometer) tall, which will still allow it to overshadow the 2,717 ft. (828 m) Burj Khalifa to claim the title of the world's tallest building.

The Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece and first construction phase of Kingdom City, a 57 million square foot (5.3 million m2) development located along the Red Sea north of Jeddah, which is known as the traditional gateway to the holy city of Mecca. The entire development has been budgeted at US$20 billion, with the Kingdom Tower alone costing approximately $1.2 billion to construct and covering an area of 5.7 million square feet (530,000 m2).

The building will contain 59 elevators, including 54 single-deck and five double-deck elevators, as well as 12 escalators. The elevators serving the observatory will travel at 22 mph (36 km/h) in both directions. At level 157, a sky terrace roughly 98 feet (30 m) in diameter intended as an outdoor amenity for use by the penthouse floor extends from the side of the building.

The Kingdom Towers sky terrace
The Kingdom Towers sky terrace

The exterior wall system is designed to minimize energy consumption by reducing thermal loads, while a series of notches on the building's three sides create pockets of shadow that shield areas of the building from direct sunlight and provide outdoor terraces.

The three-sided tower rises from a three-petal footprint design with aerodynamic tapering wings that help reduce structural loading due to wind vortex shedding. Gill says the tower's sleek, streamlined form was inspired by the folded fronds of young desert plant growth.

"With its slender, subtly asymmetrical massing, the tower evokes a bundle of leaves shooting up from the ground - a burst of new life that heralds more growth all around it," added Smith.

While the building's exact height isn't yet known, when completed AS+GG claim it will be at least 568 feet (173 m) taller than the Burj Khalifa, which was also designed by Adrian Smith when he was at architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). At SOM, Smith also worked on the design for the Pearl River Tower, while AS+GG also recently won an international competition to design China's Wuhan Greenland Center.

AS+GG says design development of the Kingdom Tower is underway, the foundation drawings are already complete and construction is set to begin 'imminently."

View gallery - 9 images
22 comments
livin_the_dream
just curious do they have rates bills in Saudi, 57000000 sqft will be a big bill??? It\'s so nice to see all our fuel money going to such good causes, not to mention the increases in raw material costs due to these extravagances. When will this lunacy end? I guess there may well be some knowledge gained that could be used in more benficial projects?
mrhuckfin
Remember when we here in the U.S. used to build things on this scale? Now we can\'t even replace the towers at ground zero after 10 years!
Flint McNamara
Yup, sad days for the USofA. But we can and must pull out of it! Rebuild, Retool, Re-school!
The Saudi Kingdom Tower looks kinda cool at least :)
Bob Kiger
This article begs the question \"Why would anyone want to build a \'Mile-high-tower\' in a world where miles are a non-standard\". The world is metric. Only the US [and some other allied holdouts] recanted on the metric standard and that 25 year old decision is one factor in the demise of our economy IMO.
Brillig
Unless they have multiple pumping stations, the plumbing will require pressures over 1400 pounds per square inch if they need water at the top. But maybe they can use circulating water or other liquid to cool the lower levels using the cooler weather a kilometer up. The temperature is likely almost 10 degrees C cooler at the top.
Jeff Williams
mrhuckfin : That is because we are broke silly.... Bankrupt! If we could not just print paper.. if we could not just say... poofffff our credit limit is higher, so now we can sell off more of our country... we would simply stop functioning.
Its our ability to borrow cash from other countries that keeps us going; not our own economy.. OUR economy if you cut off outside funding would not sustain the country even for a month.
Charles Bosse
Jeff: It\'s funny, but our economy was self sustaining 10 years ago before we got involved in a war with SA\'s neighbor and \"lowered our taxes\" (yet somehow my taxes are still about the same). Now, apparently, they are spending their money on this instead of helping their neighbors, or making investments in their country as a whole.
The Saudi\'s hope that this will attract other development, but it will bankrupt them like the extravagance in Dubai, and somehow, I don\'t think businesses will be lining up to work in a country where woman still can\'t drive. If this building reaches completion it will likely sit mostly empty, a sad shadow of another country where self importance overcame good sense. While I am not religious, I do find it ironic just how much this exemplifies the passage about building your house on solid rock instead of sand.
James Dugan
If the USA stopped over-regulating everything, we COULD build like this, and better.
It\'s not the taxes, it\'s not the debt - it\'s the government wanting to dictate every facet of every life...it\'s what government\'s DO, and why we need LESS of it....
mrhuckfin
AMEN Mr. Dugan! :-)
Ed
My parents live in a house that\'s 1 miles up! They live in the mountains of Colorado and the scenery is breathtaking!