Want to Take a 12 Minute Elevator Ride?
In August, Saudi Arabia announced plans to break records and create the world’s tallest building. This proposed project will soar more than one kilometre into the skies, dwarfing the current record holder by more than 173 metres.
The more than $1 billion project is expected to house a Four Seasons hotel, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums and offices, encompassing, in all, about 5.4 million square feet. It’s said that it will take a 12 minute elevator ride to reach the top.
The spire, to be named Kingdom Tower will be designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architecture. It is the first phase of the planned Kingdom City, a sprawling, $20 billion, two-square mile urban development project first announced in 2008.
"Our vision for Kingdom Tower is one that represents the new spirit of Saudi Arabia," said Smith, whose experience in super tall tower design at SOM (Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill LLP) also includes Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, Nanjing Greenland Financial Center in Nanjing, China, the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago and Pearl River Tower, now in the late stages of construction in Guangzhou, China. "This tower symbolizes the Kingdom as an important global business and cultural leader, and demonstrates the strength and creative vision of its people. It represents new growth and high-performance technology fused into one powerful iconic form."
The design of the building is supposed to evoke a bundle of leaves shooting up from the ground. The elegant, cost-efficient and highly constructible design will take advantage of new technology and building materials to create the streamlined form of the tower. Another unique feature of the design is the sky terrace that sits on the 157th level. At roughly 30 metres in diameter, it is an outdoor amenity space intended for use by the penthouse floor.
Kingdom Holding Co., the investment firm headed by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, said it signed a 4.2 billion riyal ($1.2 billion) deal with the Saudi Binladen Group to build Kingdom Tower on the outskirts of the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
The project is intended to become both an economic engine and a proud symbol of the Kingdom’s economic and cultural stature in the world community.
The current record holder, Burj Khalifa in Dubai stands at 2,717 feet (828 metres) with 160 liveable floors. Built in 2009, the Burj Khalifa is not only the tallest building but also the tallest free-standing structure in the world. By comparison, the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario stands at 553.33 m (1,815 ft., 5 inches). The tallest building in the United States, the Willis Tower in Chicago, stands at 442 m (1,451 feet), although counting its antenna towers it rises to 527 metres (1,729 feet).