Kingdom Tower, scheduled for completion in 2018, will rise at the heart of Kingdom City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as the centerpiece of a project conceived to attract business and tourism and showcase the power and wealth of the Saudi Kingdom. Founded and led by Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the urban development venture will take over two square miles of land in the north area of the city by the Red Sea.
At 3,281 feet, the tower is expected to rise about 200 levels and will house a Four Seasons hotel, luxury apartments and condos, office space and the highest observation deck in the world. The original plan was to create a mile-high building, but the geology of the area was not suitable for such an ambitious endeavor.
Bold, yet polished in design, the slender tower aims to be an iconic symbol for Jeddah’s historical importance as the gateway to Mecca. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the firm responsible for the design, looked to integrate cutting edge technology with organic design.”Our vision for Kingdom Tower is one that represents the new spirit of Saudi Arabia,” says Adrian Smith, who is also responsible for the design of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. “This tower symbolizes the Kingdom as an important global business and cultural leader and demonstrates the strength and creative vision of its people.” More about architecture and design.
(L) Gordon Gill; (R) Adrian Smith.
Visually, the Tower heralds what the city of Jeddah is to become. It will take approximately 80,000 tons of steel to create this emblematic tower of unprecedented heights. It is a beacon of the new life and energy that will grow in the surrounding area. The design evokes leaves shooting up from the ground, and its orientation will prevent direct sunlight to hit any of its facades. Notches will create pockets of shade that will shield outdoor terraces from the sun, while allowing for majestic views of Jeddah and the Red Sea. Sleek and streamlined, the Tower may appear uncomplicated, but its creation is not an easy undertaking. Tapering wings, ideal for residential units, will provide aerodynamic forms that will reduce wind loads. Every few floors, the shape of the building changes, allowing wind loads to move around the building. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture also considered energy conservation a top priority. The tower will feature a high-performance exterior system that will decrease energy consumption by reducing thermal load.
A sophisticated skyscraper calls for an advanced elevator system. Twelve escalators, 54 single-deck elevators and five double deck elevators will provide ease for residents and visitors. Moving at more than 41 feet per minute, the double deck elevators will be the fastest in the world.
The elegant centerpiece of Kingdom City is not only cleverly designed to symbolize the flourishing activity throughout Saudi Arabia, but also an innovative tower that is expected to bring about positive changes, both socially and economically for the thriving Saudi Kingdom. ■