Kristine Lofgren

Construction to Finally Begin on the World's Tallest Tower Next Month

by , 03/29/14
filed under: Architecture, News

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After a few false starts and a lengthy delay, the world’s tallest tower has finally been given a start date to begin construction. When it is completed, the Kingdom Tower will eventually stretch 3,280 feet into the Saudi Arabian sky, but up until now it hasn’t even gotten off the desert floor. In 2012, crews sunk a 330-foot-deep foundation into the sand but not much else has happened since then. Now the project has been given an April 27, 2014 start date and things are finally moving ahead.


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The building will cost 1.2 billion dollars to construct and when it is completed, it will be over 550 feet taller than the current tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. The developer plans to include a luxury hotel, apartments and condominiums, and the world’s highest observatory. The project will be jointly managed by companies EC Harris and Mace and was designed by the architectural firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.

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

Although we have a start date, there are still plenty of questions that remain unanswered. The complex will contain 59 elevators and the observatory elevators will travel 32 feet a second. But we aren’t sure how the elevators will work, since current technology only allows for cables that extend 2,000 feet. It is also unclear just how high and how rapidly an elevator can go without having an impact on the human body. We also have no idea what, if any, consequences there are for humans living that high up in the sky.

The tower will be built with energy conservation and life-cycle considerations in mind, and developers hope to achieve something that is both ground-breaking and traditional. Ultimately the building will no doubt have new challenges and requirements that human beings have never addressed before. But building the world’s longest bridges required a leap of faith and the Kingdom Tower won’t be any different.

Via Gizmodo

Images courtesy of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

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7 Comments

  1. gontier March 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Perhaps Hitachi’s recent Circulating Multi-Car Elevator System innovation is the way forward on this one – boasting that it is able to move twice the rate of passengers than a conventional elevator and shrinking the space taken up in high buildings – it is a computer controlled paternoster style lift where individual cars are able to stop at a floor for passengers to enter or exit safely. Perhaps a series of such elevator tower systems, each covering successively higher levels of floors until the last Multi-Car Elevator reaches the top, may be the way to solve the problem. Or there’s the innovative High speed Helixator, quoted as rising from a transfer lobby at a speed of 12km/h (vertical speed 1m/sec) crossing a floor every five seconds and twenty stories in a minute and a half – estimated capacity: 14,500 people per hour in every direction with no waiting. Then again, perhaps a combination of these technologies, serving different levels – After all, speed is one thing – capacity is another.

  2. David Dees March 28, 2014 at 2:23 am

    I wonder where they will get the slave labor to build it.

  3. RelayerM31 March 26, 2014 at 7:11 am

    What a ridiculous project. Well, I guess if you have the money might as well spend it. They’ll probably have to use a different set of elevators for the top floors but that’s no big deal. In Saudi Arabia the government still executes Muslims who become Christians so I won’t be planning a visit.

  4. indichas March 26, 2014 at 1:27 am

    i.2 Billion just for the construction. It will take more than that to maintain it. That could provide a lot of clean drinking water for the people of the world.

  5. David Hanks March 25, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I just hope that they don’t use the forced labor and inhumane “work camps” that other projects have used.

  6. Social Entrepreneur March 25, 2014 at 9:04 am

    They are trying to outdo the Burj Khalifa.

  7. Joshua Hyman March 25, 2014 at 7:43 am

    “We also have no idea what, if any, consequences there are for humans living that high up in the sky” What do you mean by this? The entire city of Denver, Colorado is well over 5,000 feet “in the sky”, to say nothing of the people that live in the Himalayas and Andes. If the concern is people changing altitude regularly, Airline attendants do this regularly as passenger jet cabins are only pressurized to between 4000-7000 feet (relative).

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