We've speculated about the Kingdom Tower (which, at over 1,000 meters high, would dwarf the current world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa), and now it seems the rumors are true. We received word this morning from American architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill that they will indeed be spearheading the design of the supertall tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which will cost $1.23 billion dollars and be funded in part by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. While there's no doubt that this is an ambitious undertaking, we have to wonder, with all of the Middle East's other massive and not necessarily successful projects, does it really need another gigantic skyscraper?
Almost a year after its opening in 2010, only 75 of Burj Khalifa’s 900 luxury apartments were occupied. But this hasn’t deterred Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal from signing a contract to build the new Kingdom Tower in the city of Jeddah on the Red Sea. The new tower will reach over 1,000 meters, with the actual height remaining a secret until completion (the Burj Khalifa reaches a paltry, in comparison, 828 metres).
The Kingdom Tower will be home to a Four Seasons Hotel, luxury condos, luxury office space and “the world’s highest observatory.” Fifty-nine elevators and 12 escalators will service the tower and floor 157 will host a sky terrace, accessible to the penthouse. The tower will also have some green features such as a high performance exerior wall to minimize thermal loads and the need for interior cooling. In addition, strategic exterior pockets were designed to create shade for the same reason, and to cool outdoor terraces naturally. Still, this is yet another Middle Eastern project that we think is seriously dubious.
Image ©Leandro Ciuffo