3 aug 11  | Construction Week Online

Kingdom Tower is next step in skyscraper design

The 1km-high Kingdom Tower to be built in Jeddah represents “an evolution and a refinement of an architectural continuum of skyscraper design,” according to Gordon Gill from Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG).

“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,” said Gill.

“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 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.”

Kingdom Tower will feature a high-performance exterior wall system that will minimise energy consumption by reducing thermal loads.

In addition, each of the 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 views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.

The considerable height will necessitate 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 10m/s in both directions, the same speed as the observatory elevators in the Burj Khalifa.

The signing of the construction contract represented a "new vision" for Saudi Arabia, said designer Adrian Smith.

"Saudi Arabia is trying to open itself up for more business and more opportunity. This is a new vision for Saudi Arabia. There is something very special about being the world's tallest building. Everyone wants to be able to do one.”