Saudi Arabia aim for record heights
Currently under construction in Saudi Arabia is the next big thing, the Jeddah Tower. This marvel of construction is set to become the world’s tallest building when construction completes in 2020. The current record holder (The Burj Khalifa, in Dubai) sits at 828 metres, this new building will top out at an incredible 1,008 metres.
So why are Saudi Arabia building this tower?
Like Dubai, Saudi Arabia see this new building as a means of putting the Kingdom on the map. The build will be place on a 120-acre plot, surrounded by yet to be announced sections of high-rise. This area has been classed as the “Three-phase Jeddah Economic City Development” and will form the hub of Saudi Arabia’s new financial district. The total cost for the project is estimated to be around $20-billion, but this price may increase as the cost of materials can vary significantly over such a long-term build schedule. It is surprising to note the building had initially been planned to boast a height of 1.6 km (1 mile), but the geology of the area proved unsuitable for a tower of that height.
Designers HOK Architects designed the building with a triangular footprint and sloped exterior to reduce the amount of wind resistance. With a structure of such height the loads likely to be experienced towards the top will be significant, resulting in a tapered summit. The design has taken inspiration from its location, with designers sighting a building intended to look like a desert plant shooting upwards as a symbol of Saudi Arabia's growth and future. The building also looks to add prominence to Jeddah's status, with it located close to the holy city of Mecca.
With Saudi Arabia increasingly looking to a life without oil money, they seem to be taking a page out of the neighbour’s book. There are hopes the tower will bring change in terms of development and tourism to the city of Jeddah, which is considered the most liberal city in Saudi Arabia. The building does seem to be receiving mixed feelings from the local population, with some giving high-praise, while others feel this is yet another pointless vanity project. With the project posing as a potential economic lead weight, and the country suffering from a bad international reputation likely to distance tourism, the project seems to be an unnecessary gamble for the state to undertake.
Image: Ammar shaker