Aerial view of proposed Kingdom Tower. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal signed a $1.23 billion contract with Bin Laden Group for the proposed tower, which will take just over five years to complete. The building is the centerpiece of the planned Kingdom City development being built outside Jeddah by Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding.
A model of Kingdom Tower’s sky terrace. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, a Chicago architectural firm, has been selected to design the Kingdom Tower, which will feature a Four Seasons hotel, serviced apartments, Class A office space, luxury condominiums and the world’s highest observatory.
When completed, the 1,000-meter-plus (3,280-foot-plus) tower would replace Gulf neighbor Dubai’s 828-meter (2,716-foot) Burj Khalifa as the tallest tower in the world. The Burj Khalifa was built by Emaar Properties for a total cost of $1.5 billion.
The exact final height is still a closely guarded secret, though it will be at least 173 meters (568 feet) taller than Burj Khalifa.
“It is not 1,000 meters. It is more, could be more by many meters… The figure is secret, only a small number of people know,” said Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah.
Kingdom Tower will contain 59 elevators and 12 escalators.
Kingdom Tower will cost about $1.2 billion to construct, while the cost of the entire Kingdom City project is anticipated to be $20 billion.
Groundbreaking is expected toward the end of the year, Gill said.
Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, who initiated and has been the driving force behind the decision to build the world’s tallest building in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is pleased to announce on 2nd August 2011, that the contract for construction has been signed and Kingdom Tower, with a height of over 1,000 meters, will begin construction imminently in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece and the first construction phase of Kingdom City, Jeddah Economic Company’s (JEC) new urban development of more than 5.3 million square meters of land in the north of Jeddah overlooking the Red Sea and Obhur Creek.
The great height of Kingdom Tower necessitates one of the world’s most sophisticated elevator systems. The Kingdom Tower complex will contain 59 elevators, including 54 single-deck and five double-deck elevators, along with 12 escalators. Elevators serving the observatory will travel at a rate of 10 meters per second in both directions.
The Kingdom Tower design is both highly technological and distinctly organic. With its slender, subtly asymmetrical massing, the tower evokes a bundle of leaves shooting up from the ground — a burst of new life that heralds more growth all around it. The tower becomes a catalyst for increased development around it.
The sleek, streamlined form of the tower was inspired by the folded fronds of young desert plant growth, Mr. Gill explained. “The way the fronds sprout upward from the ground as a single form, then start separating from each other at the top, is an analogy of new growth fused with technology,” he said. “We’re thrilled to be working with His Highness, Jeddah Economic Company and Emaar to help define this path for the Kingdom.”
While AS+GG’s design is contextual to Saudi Arabia, it also represents an evolution and a refinement of an architectural continuum of skyscraper design. The three-petal footprint is ideal for residential units, and the tapering wings produce an aerodynamic shape that helps reduce structural loading due to wind vortex shedding. The Kingdom Tower design embraces its architectural pedigree, taking full advantage of the proven design strategies and technological advances of its lineage and extends those advances to the cutting edge.
The result is an elegant, cost-efficient and highly constructible design that is both grounded in built tradition and aggressively forward-looking, taking advantage of new and innovative thinking about technology, building materials and energy conservation. For example, the project will feature a high-performance exterior wall system that will minimize energy consumption by reducing thermal loads. In addition, each of Kingdom Tower’s three sides features a series of notches that create pockets of shadow that shield areas of the building from the sun and provide outdoor terraces with stunning views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.
Another unique feature of the design is a sky terrace, roughly 30 meters (98 feet) in diameter, at level 157. It is an outdoor amenity space intended for use by the penthouse floor.
AS+GG also designed the master plan for the 23-hectare Kingdom Tower Waterfront District, which surrounds the tower and which will include residential and commercial buildings, a shopping mall, high-quality outdoor spaces and other amenities. The Waterfront District provides a cohesive and pedestrian-friendly setting for Kingdom Tower while creating a pleasant neighborhood experience along the Kingdom City lakefront.
The district encompasses a high-end shopping mall designed by AS+GG, plus additional development parcels that accommodate commercial and high-density residential uses, offices, two luxury hotels and high-quality open spaces, including the central Tower Plaza. A serene waterfront promenade connects Kingdom Tower, the various development parcels, the open space areas and the mall together