8 May 24 | Architectural Digest

Jeddah Tower: Everything You Need to Know About the Soon-to-Be World’s Tallest Skyscraper

By Katherine McLaughlin

When finished, the tower will stand at 3,281 feet tall—nearly 11 times the height of the Statue of Liberty

What do Philadelphia City Hall, the Empire State Building, and the Burj Khalifa have in common? They’ve all held the title of the world’s tallest skyscraper. And eventually Jeddah Tower, a neo-futuristic skyscraper planned in Saudi Arabia, will join the ranks among these iconic structures.

Designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the structure will stand at 3,281 feet tall when completed in the next four to five years, nearly 11 times the height of the Statue of Liberty. “The design for Jeddah Tower is rooted in the symbolism of Saudi Arabia while looking toward the future by being technologically expressive,” explain Smith and Gill in a joint statement to AD. “Its slender, subtly asymmetrical massing evokes the new growth of palm fronds shooting upward from the land—a symbol of new life heralding future growth for the kingdom.”

Here, AD covers everything you need to know about the future world-record holder.

Jeddah Tower will be located in the city from which it gets its name, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A port area, the city borders the Red Sea and is the second-most populated in the Middle Eastern country. When complete, the skyscraper will join other architectural marvels in Jeddah, such as the Penang Floating Mosque and Al Balad, the town’s historic center featuring homes from coral.

What will Jeddah Tower look like?

The building is designed in a neo-futuristic style, an avant-garde aesthetic often underpinned by the use of world-class technology and a rethinking of both the form and function of developments. Renderings show a singular, slender tower, which subtly tapers towards its apex. As Smith and Gill explain, the shape is inspired by new palm fronds, which are abundant in Saudi Arabia.

Though the design is meant to honor its Saudi Arabian origins, it also represent the pinnacle of super-tall design and the technological evolution that has allowed such monumental design to become a reality. “The geometry of the tower starting at the base as a single tripod form then gradually separating at the spire, is tied to the wind performance characteristics of the tower—an analogy of new growth fused with technology,” the pair add.

When will Jeddah Tower be completed?

Jeddah Tower’s construction started back in 2013 but was paused in 2018. Its contractor, the Binladin Group, was taken off the project following the the 2017–2019 Saudi Arabian purge when its president, Bakr bin Laden, half-brother to Osama Bin Laden, was arrested. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in further delays; though in September 2023 Dezeen reported that construction had restarted.

“Jeddah Tower construction has restarted…the tower is expected to be completed within four to five years,” the Jeddah Economic Company (JEC), the developer, confirms in a statement to AD. The business has solicited several contractors for proposal, and JEC is currently assessing bids. “We’re targeting to select a contractor within two to three months,” the statement finishes.

How much of Jeddah Tower is complete?

Before it was halted, builders had finished about a third of the building. When completed, the tower will stand at around 3,281 feet, or one kilometer. It will be about 564 feet taller than the Burj Khalifa, designed by Smith while he was working at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which currently holds the record for the world’s tallest skyscraper.

What will Jeddah Tower hold?

Similar to the Burj Khalifa, Jeddah Tower is expected to be a mixed-use building, offering both residential, commercial, and office space. There will also be an observation deck (currently planned to be the world’s tallest), a Four Seasons hotel, and a 98-foot-diameter outdoor balcony, which was originally designed as a helipad.