How tall is too tall? Why creating built form like this for residential use if it is only to prove technical and engineering dominance? Saudi Arabia is looking to diversify its economy by building a skyscraper that, when completed, will be the world’s tallest artificial structure ever made. The aptly named Kingdom Tower is expected to reach a height of one kilometre, surpassing UAE’s Burj Khalifa, which stands at 830 metres and is currently the world’s tallest building. Construction of the Kingdom Tower has already begun in Jeddah and the people behind this massive undertaking are expecting to complete the project by 2018.1
Designed by the Chicago, USA-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the skyscraper is just a part of a larger development called Kingdom City, a sprawling real estate project that will host both commercial and residential development that include homes, hotels, and offices. Kingdom City, which is estimated to cost US$20 billion, is also expected to create 50,000 jobs over the next few years, is.
The Kingdom Tower is more than just a big building. According to the project’s handlers, the tower will be home to the world’s highest observatory, which could help in studying the earth’s atmosphere, weather phenomena, and other related studies. Its shape is also developed in a way that will make the building more functional. The skyscraper’s narrowing silhouette is designed to be aerodynamic, so it can resist wind and gravity. The taper also helps maximise usable and rent-able space.
With its massive size and with the building being constructed in one of the hottest places on Earth, most people would expect that it will consume a lot of energy to keep it cool and illuminated. However, you might be surprised to know that the designers have taken the building’s energy efficiency into consideration when creating the blueprints for the Kingdom Tower.
For instance, the building will be constructed with a high-performance exterior wall system that includes low conductivity glass. This is expected to help minimise the Kingdom Tower’s energy consumption by reducing its thermal loads. Each of the three sides of the skyscraper will also feature three outdoor patios. Each patio will have a series of shaded notches that will provide gorgeous views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.2
Dr Hisham Jonah, chief development officer for Jeddah Economic City, considers the Kingdom Tower as an engineering feat that “has challenged mankind to outdo himself.” With the Kingdom Tower being the first ever man-made structure to reach the 1km height threshold when completed, Dr Jonah said the project is setting new standards on how tall man can build similar structures in the future.3
1 “Saudi Arabia Unveils New Kingdom Tower.” http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000376897&play=1
2 Matt Shaw. “10 Facts About the Kingdom Tower, the Soon-To-Be Tallest Building in the World.” http://architizer.com/blog/kingdom-tower-10-facts/
3 Hadi Khatib. “Saudi’s 1km-high Kingdom Tower to have 252 floors.” http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-33116-saudis-1km-high-kingdom-tower-to-have-252-floors/