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


August 3, 2011

The Kingdom Tower will stand over one kilometer tall

The Kingdom Tower will stand over one kilometer tall

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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 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."

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

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?


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!


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 :)

Flint McNamara

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.

Bob Kiger

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.


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.

Jeff Williams

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.

Charles Bosse

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....

James Dugan

AMEN Mr. Dugan! :-)


My parents live in a house that\'s 1 miles up! They live in the mountains of Colorado and the scenery is breathtaking!


If they get too close to the sun they might just melt like Icarus !!

Ron Raines

I am concerned that such a structure would make any sense. The resultant maintenance, operational and management costs are too much to imagine. Eventually would this building be accessible to the citizens of the country? I feel its a waste for our depletable resources in our world!

Leong Hee Chan

What regulations prevent a building like this from being built in the US? Perhaps the ones that make sure the occupants are safe.

I\'ve been to the mountains in the Boulder, CO area. The view is great. You can also see the layer of smog from your car. Such a shame...

Robert Bigger

At Bob- The metric system sucks.


Why not work on Infrastructure first before building such a building !! remember the flood that happened some year back killing people, because of poor Sewerage system the \"misk\" Lake that was going to flood the city!


Abdulrahman Qayed

@ venusvegasvada Right ON !! The Metric system is a built on a lie designed by the French @Bob Ask Greece and Italy how the metric system is working out.


Beautifull. Still barely touching the limits of whats possible.

Looking forward to seeing what mankind will create in the future.

Simon Pitt

The more we as human beings push the boundaries, the more we make mistakes and the more we learn about ourselves and how not to repeat those mistakes.



In a way I agree with you, but on the other hand a skyscraper like this provides lot of good press for Jeddah in particular and Saudi Arabia in general.

And it is not just a toy. It is a profitable investment. While the Kingdom Tower will not run on profit in itself, the surrounding free land will grow in value. Just checkout an interview with Adrian Smith on http://www.kingdomtowerskyscraper.com. And in the end it is business. Plus that it is not government funded like the Burj Khalifa.


structural engineers advancing to tougher challenges. simply amazing.

Facebook User

looking forward.who will next to break this 1.6 km record?!!

Asiya Siddique

Not a wise idea. There are too many security issues. For example: frequent fires in skyscrapers in Dubai http://www.photo-travels.org/collection/14/1142/ , so here there are many of the problems associated with this.

Anna Prus
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