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Kingdom Tower

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Kingdom Tower

At over 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) and a total construction area of 530,000 square meters (5.7 million square-feet), Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece and first construction phase of the $20 billion Kingdom City development in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, near the Red Sea.

Expected to cost $1.2 billion to construct, Kingdom Tower will be a mixed-use building featuring a luxury hotel, office space, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums and the world’s highest observatory. Kingdom Tower’s height will be at least 173 meters (568 feet) taller than Burj Khalifa, which was designed by Adrian Smith while at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

AS+GG’s design for Kingdom Tower 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—a burst of new life that heralds more growth all around it. This symbolizes the tower as a catalyst for increased development around it.

The sleek, streamlined form of the tower can be interpreted as a reference to the folded fronds of young desert plant growth. The way the fronds sprout upward from the ground as a single form, then start separating from each other at the top, is an analogy of new growth fused with technology.

While the design is contextual to Saudi Arabia, it also represents an evolution and a refinement of an architectural continuum of skyscraper design. 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 Kingdom Tower design embraces its architectural pedigree, taking full advantage of the proven design strategies and technological strategies of its lineage, refining and advancing them to achieve new heights.

The result is an elegant, cost-efficient and highly constructible design that is at once grounded in built tradition and aggressively forward-looking, taking advantage of new and innovative thinking about technology, building materials, life-cycle considerations and energy conservation. For example, the project will feature a high-performance exterior wall system that will 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 that shield areas of the building from the sun and provide outdoor terraces with stunning views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.

The great height of Kingdom Tower necessitates 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 a rate of 10 meters per second in both directions.

Another unique feature of the design is a sky terrace, roughly 30 meters (98 feet) in diameter, at level 157. It is an outdoor amenity space intended for use by the penthouse floor.

The Kingdom Tower Waterfront District
The area surrounding Kingdom Tower is known as the Kingdom Tower Waterfront District. Designed by AS+GG, the 23-hectare Waterfront District provides a cohesive and pedestrian-friendly setting for the magnificent Kingdom Tower while creating a pleasant neighborhood experience nestled along the Kingdom City lakefront.

The Kingdom Tower Waterfront District encompasses a high-end shopping mall and additional development parcels that accommodate commercial and high-density residential uses, offices, two luxury hotels and high-quality open spaces, including the central Tower Plaza. A serene waterfront promenade connects Kingdom Tower, the various development parcels, the open space areas and the mall together. The result is an exciting mixed-use area that offers a concentrated and comprehensive experience including vibrant shopping, entertainment and open-space amenities. The Waterfront District also provides an array of connections to other areas within Kingdom City’s overall master plan, designed by HOK Architects.

The Waterfront District is subdivided into 13 development parcels, the largest of which are the Kingdom Tower parcel of about 90,000 square meters and the mall parcel of about 65,000 sm. Smaller mixed-use parcels of between 5,000 sm and 10,000 sm are arranged in two development precincts, North and South, each with its own unifying palette of materials. The parcel sizes vary depending on the density of each site; the larger sites are farther away from Kingdom Tower, with the smaller sites stepping closer to the tower, creating the effect of an architectural amphitheater around the structure. Views of Kingdom Tower from throughout the District—including the sensitively designed 20- to 60-story buildings around the tower—are spectacular. The buildings closest to the tower are of lower heights, ensuring that the outer buildings also have access to views of Kingdom Tower.

mar 14  | Architectural Record
Big Bigger Biggest
The future looms large for seven forthcoming projects around the globe that demonstrate ambition in scale and form. Click the image below to view a slide show of massive buildings in design or already underway... MORE

15 feb 13  | Popular Science
Rise of the Supertalls
Engineering advances have architecs striving for the mile-high skyscraper... MORE

apr 12  | Discovery Channel Magazine
Reach for the Sky
They dominate our skylines, and reflect our hopes and dreams - not to mention our egos. As Chris Wright reports, when it comes to the future, the next generation of skyscraers will, quite literally, reach for the sky... MORE

18 sep 11  | LakeForest-LakeBluff Patch
Local Legends Program Spotlights Tall Building Designer
Lake Forest resident Adrian Smith will discuss his work in an interview with Bill Kurtis... MORE

30 aug 11  | Arabian Business
Kingdom Tower architect grapples the wind at 3,000 ft
Kingdom Tower, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s project to erect the world’s tallest building in Jeddah, is designed to imitate the contours of a sprouting desert plant... MORE

14 aug 11  | New York Magazine
At the Skyscraper Museum, a reminder of why we keep reaching for the clouds... MORE

3 aug 11  | Chicago Tribune
Chicago firm's design towers over the rest
The competition to design a new skyscraper in Saudi Arabia had a simple but lofty rule: The tower had to be the world's first kilometer-tall building... MORE

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)... MORE

3 aug 11  | The Wall Street Journal
Saudis Plan World's Tallest Tower
Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal announced plans to build the world's tallest building in Jeddah less than two years after the Burj Khalifa opened in Dubai at a height that many thought wouldn't be surpassed for years... MORE

2 aug 11  | msnbc.com
World's tallest building coming to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia unveiled plans Tuesday to build the world's tallest tower — a mixed-use structure that will rise two-thirds of a mile high — in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah... MORE

2 aug 11  | The Huffington Post
Kingdom Tower: Adrian Smith Talks Designing World's Tallest Building
At six feet, Adrian Smith is fairly tall for an architect. But now, with the announcement that his Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will begin construction this year, he may qualify as the world's tallest architect... MORE

2 aug 11  | World Architecture News
AS+GG confirmed for Kingdom Tower
After months of rumour and suspicion, AS+GG confirms it is designing a $1.2bn, 1000+m tower in Jeddah... MORE

2 aug 11  | The Chicago Tribune
Chicago architecture firm to design world's tallest tower
A tower designed by Chicago architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill and to be built in Saudi Arabia will be the world's tallest building if completed, according to plans unveiled today... MORE

2 aug 11  | The Washington Post with Bloomberg Business
Saudi presses forward with plans to build world's tallest tower, outdoing neighbor Dubai
Saudi Arabia took a key step forward Tuesday in its plan to build the world’s tallest tower and outdo Gulf neighbor Dubai, which inaugurated its own record-breaking skyscraper less than two years ago... MORE

2 aug 11  | The Baltimore Sun
Chicago architecture firm to design world's tallest tower
The proposed tower, which will rise more than 1,000 meters and take just over five years to complete, is the centerpiece of the planned Kingdom City development being built outside Jeddah by Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding... MORE

2 aug 11  | Financial Times
Saudi Arabia plans world's tallest tower
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s investment vehicle, Kingdom Holding, has announced that an associate company will partner with the country’s Bin Laden Group to build a tower near Jeddah that would replace Dubai’s 828m Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building... MORE

2 aug 11  | Emirates 24/7
Kingdom Tower to top reigning champ Burj Khalifa by 173m
The US-headquartered architectural practice Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) has revealed the design for the Kingdom Tower, which is to be the world’s tallest building at 1 kilometre height... MORE

2 aug 11  | The Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago firm designing new tallest building
The Chicago-based firm of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture is designing what is to be the world’s tallest building, Kingdom Tower, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, near the Red Sea... MORE

Jeddah Economic Company

Structural Engineering
Thornton Tomasetti

MEP, Building Technology Systems, Acoustic Consulting Engineering
Environmental Systems Design, Inc.

Geotechnical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Traffic Engineering and Parking
Langan International

Façade Access
Lee Herzog Consulting

Landscape Design
SWA Group

Wind Engineering
Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin

Fire and Life Safety
Rolf Jensen & Associates


Vertical Transportation
Fortune Consultants

Materials Management, Waste Management
Lerch Bates

Graphics, Signage, Wayfinding
Forcade Associates

Specialty Lighting
Fisher Marantz Stone


Middle East AIA, Non-Built Category, Merit Award, Kingdom Tower