Architecture Magazine

Saudi Arabia Looking to Build World’s New Tallest Tower

By Periscope @periscopepost

Saudi Arabia looks to dwarf neighbour UAE with the world’s new tallest tower

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Photo credit: Mauroof Khaleel for Presidency Maldives

Gulf state Saudi Arabia may soon be able to boast the tallest building in the world. Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill architecture has announced that it is designing Kingdom Tower, a hotel, residential and office complex in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which will (hopefully) reach 1,000 metres above the ground. The current tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which stands 828 metres tall.

Kingdom Tower is the centrepiece of the Jeddah’s highly ambitious Kingdom City development. Kingdom Holding Co, the investment firm headed by the billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is teaming with the Binladen Group to bankroll and build the tower. The Saudi construction group is owned by the family of Osama bin Laden, which disowned the former al-Qaida leader years before the 9/11 attacks.

Gizmodo claim to have the first image of the world’s new tallest building.

Design development is now taking place and construction is due to start imminently, reported, which said the tower will cost $1.2 billion to construct, “though that pales in comparison with the $20 billion cost of the wider Kingdom City project.”

  • Inspiration: Desert plant. The design is inspired by the growth of a desert plant, explained architect Adrian Smith: “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.” Smith insisted that his firm’s “vision” for Kingdom Tower is one that “represents the new spirit” of Saudi Arabia. “This tower symbolises the Kingdom as an important global business and cultural leader, and demonstrates the strength and creative vision of its people,” enthused the architect.

The tower will take an estimated 63 months to erect. Inside, there will be 59 elevators and 12 escalators. The elevators that serve the observatory at the very top will travel at 10 metres per second in both directions.

  • Saudi Arabia are locked in an economic battle with UAE. Associated Press considered the Saudi tower to be the latest power move in an economic arm-wrestle taking place between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates: “They are the neighbouring gulf states battling it out for economic supremacy. And in the latest grand example of keeping up with the Joneses, Saudi Arabia has awarded a contract to build the world’s tallest skyscraper, shattering the current record held by a building in Dubai.” The Kingdom Tower makes Saudi Arabia “the current frontrunner in the race between the oil-rich nations for glitzy architectural trophies,” interpreted AP, which noted that such projects are seen as “status symbols to show off both economic success and cultural sophistication.” The venture is seen as a key part of Saudi ambitions to maintain growth by diversifying its economic base away from oil, reported AP.
  • A history of egomania. Elizabeth Flock of the The Washington Post said that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who this year dropped from the 19th-richest man in the world to the 26th-richest, isn’t the first to spend “his money on the most outlandish monument to himself.” She detailed how through history, from the pharaohs to modern billionaire sheiks, rich men have erected monuments in their own honour.
  • “Virile Saudi Prince to Erect World’s Tallest Tower,” was how Jeff Neumann at Gawker greeted the news: “Alwaleed bin Talal just couldn’t stand being the 26th richest man in the world while Dubai had the world’s tallestpenis tower, the Burj Khalifa, which was renamed after a measly president, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE. So, in honor of his manhood, the prince is building a bigger tower,” explained the snarky site.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog