Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Will Design Tallest Building in the World, Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia

by , 08/02/11
filed under: Architecture, Gallery

Dubai, Kingdom Tower, Burj Khalifa, Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, World's tallest building

Burj Khalifa by ©Leandro Ciuffo

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.

+ Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architects

Image ©Leandro Ciuffo

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  1. gerarddm February 14, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    They are copying Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mile High Skyscraper concept.

  2. TDW August 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    And how useful are the top 20 or so floors? It may be very high, but at some point a distinction should be made between usable space and decorative spire. It’s the King’s money, so he can do it, but there are so many more humane things to do with the money that a building like this shouldn’t even come into the discussion.

  3. ScholesScoresGoals August 8, 2011 at 10:48 am

    “Dubai shows how the Muslim world can peacefully co-exist with the West.”

    By not being very Muslim at all, lol.

    “I was taught that one of the signs the end of days is coming is that man starts to compete and takes pride in building taller and taller buildings.”

    See here (point 2):

    There are other slight variations of wording but the consensus of the portent is the same. Given the state of the Peninsula not even 100 years ago, it does sound ominous.

  4. john rb August 8, 2011 at 8:55 am

    At least they’ve provided a nice deck for people to jump from.

    On a different note, the Burj Khalifa looks better. The UAE will build a larger tower.

  5. orien2v2 August 8, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I’m a muslim, not very holy, but if not mistaken I was taught that one of the signs the end of days is coming is that man starts to compete and takes pride in building taller and taller buildings. So I’m not sure where arab stands. Religious, or not religious?

    Note on the 4th photo, I have to pay a lot to stay there and I still have to take 300 steps of stairs? lol

    Also the 5th photo looks like the Enterprise just crashed into it.

  6. AnimSyntax August 8, 2011 at 1:52 am

    So Saudi Arabia is having a pissing contest with the UAE? I guess it is all about who has the biggest stick.

  7. tmock August 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Learning lessons from Dubai…

    If ever there was an urban area anywhere on Earth that epitomized the excesses of the boom years between 2002 and 2007, it has to be Dubai. A sign that this large-scale land development extravaganza was veering to unsustainable excess should have been Dubai’s decision to erect a 200-story building that would make it the world’s tallest structure. Other telltale signs should have been Dubai’s determination to build the world’s largest man-made artificial islands as well as a major ski resort in the desert – all developed with dwindling oil reserves, and without a source of sustainable food, fresh water or energy production for its burgeoning class-based society.

    Sustainable Land Development Initiative

  8. newdomino August 5, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Or they are motivated by ego. I think that’s more likely in this case, rather than “heart.”

  9. Flyinarage August 5, 2011 at 4:12 am

    No, it’s not a good question.

    I hope you will agree, that humans are motivated by more than logic, sometimes they are lead by heart.


  10. lazyreader August 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    It’s a good question. Do you need it to be that tall. The current tallest building has a surplus of apartments they’ve yet to sell. And I doubt the success of the project overall. Dubai is more liberal than Saudi Arabia. Dubai shows how the Muslim world can peacefully co-exist with the West. Residents enjoy freedom of religion. Although proselytizing is not allowed, members of any religion can get government land grants to build their own houses of worship. In fact many of the investors in Dubai happen to be Israeli. The closest thing to Dubai in the U.S. is Las Vegas. Both are doubling in population about every ten years. Both can credit that growth to minimal land-use regulation and resulting low construction costs. Both are seeing outlandish building designs aimed at attracting tourists. Dubai is a little more outlandish, possibly because of the subsidized architecture. Any high rise above about 80 stories has to be subsidized, the added structural cost can’t be justified by the rents on the extra floor space.

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