Work underway on 1km-high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah

Ongoing construction of the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Ongoing construction of the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. PHOTO/COURTESY
Construction is underway on the 1km-high Kingdom Tower, an engineering feat that is being built in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by the Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) – which is owned by the Saudi royal family.

With slightly over a year into construction, the first 14 floors have been built and the initial phase of elevator installation at the future tallest building in the world is now underway.

When the Kingdom Tower is completed in 2018, it will stand over a kilometre tall at an estimated 3,281 feet – over seven times the height of Nairobi’s Times Tower. It will comprise over 500,000 sq m of floor space

The 252-floor tower will have 89 more floors than the 163-floor Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai – currently the world’s tallest building, and will also offer the highest observation deck in the world.

“The floor count is 252 floors with occupied floors being 167. It’s a mixed use development with 7 floors for offices 7 floors for hotel, 11 floors of service apartments and different grades of housing all the way to the observatory tower,” said Hisham Jonah, chief development officer for JEC.

The actual tower starts at just over 20 metres above ground level, led there by a ramp and podium around the tower. The largest floor in the building is 85,000 sq m consisting of a car park to accommodate 2200 cars.

The contract for the construction of the tower, which will be part of the proposed Kingdom City, was signed with Saudi Bin Laden Group for US$1.2 billion with the entire project estimated to cost US$20 billion.

Kingdom Tower was designed by Adrian Smith the American architect who designed Burj Khalifa.

Skyscrapers are increasingly getting taller as developers race to break the record for the tallest building, a scenario that calls into question whether it is possible to build even taller buildings in the future.

“You hear from Qatar, Azerbaijan and the Emirates that there are plans for towers that are 1.3, 1.5, and 1.6 km high. I wonder how they will reach that,” asked Dr Jomah.