City of the hyper tall
Kingdom Tower marks the start of Jeddah's Kingdom City development
Kingdom Tower will be a hyper tall building, reaching an unspecified height of more than 1000 metres.
According to Kingdom Holding, the tower will be the centerpiece of a new property development known as Kingdom City. It will also be the first phase to begin construction.
If Kingdom Tower becomes the first building in the world to broach the 1000 metre mark, it will herald a new era of construction and set a challenging new benchmark for future towers to aim at.
“Kingdom Tower will be a landmark structure that will greatly increase the value of the hundreds of other properties around it in Kingdom City and indeed throughout North Jeddah,” said Talal Al Maiman, a board member of Jeddah Economic Company (JEC), which was set up in 2009 to develop Kingdom City.
Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) has designed Kingdom Tower to be mixed-use and, years from completion, the tower already has a Four Seasons hotel and serviced apartments penciled in. Mention has also been made of the usual collections of office space, condominiums and, of course, the world’s highest observation deck.
There is a strong expectation that the building will become a tourist attraction, backed by the steady rise in pilgrimage traffic to the nearby holy city of Makkah. However, it will need to do more than that if it is to recover the construction cost of the tower, which is estimated at $1.2 billion.
Kingdom Tower will take up 500,000m2 of AS+GG’s design for 23 hectare Kingdom Tower Waterfront District, which is itself part of the wider $20 billion Kingdom City master plan, developed by HOK Architects. The city is on the drawing board as an urban development covering more than 5.3 million m2 in the north of Jeddah, overlooking the Red Sea and Obhur Creek.
As the areas around the tower will be a key part of the project’s economic viability, it’s not surprising that proposals include such things as a high-end shopping mall and additional development parcels to accommodate commercial and high-density residential and office uses.
This is a model which has proved successful for the development of the Burj Khalifa, where the surrounding mall, hotels and residential areas have generated considerable revenue.
With design development under way since May 2009, the report that the schematic design is complete and detailed design has begun. Foundation drawings are also complete and the piling contract is currently out to tender.
“Our vision for Kingdom Tower is one that represents the spirit of Saudi Arabia. It also represents new growth and high-performance technology fused into one powerful iconic form,” said Adrian Smith, in a statement.
While release material describes the design as evoking ‘a bundle of leaves shooting up from the ground’, the final result may be more starkly technological.
The design has the look of a tapered icicle, familiar from the Burj Khalifa, and consistent with current thinking on how to achieve remarkable height.
The tower will feature a three-petal footprint, with tapered wings intended to reduce structural loading, due to wind vortex shedding. As a nod to Makkah’s proximity, the southeast leg of Kingdom Tower’s tripedal base is on a direct line with the Ka’ba.
The result is a design described as cost-efficient and constructible, which will look to take advantage of innovative technology, building materials and energy conservation. An example given by the architects is the project’s exterior wall system, which is intended to 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, which shield areas of the building from the sun and provide outdoor terraces.
Talal Al Maiman said: “Prince Alwaleed, Mr. Bakhsh, Mr. Sharbatly and I were impressed by the boldness and simplicity of the AS+GG design.
“Kingdom Tower’s height is remarkable, obviously, but the building’s iconic status will not depend solely on that aspect. Its form is brilliantly sculpted, making it quite simply the most beautiful building in the world of any height.”