10 Interesting Facts About Kingdom Tower, The Soon-to-be Tallest Building In The World


When I’m free, I always love to check out articles on tall buildings. My huge interest on skyscrapers started way back when I was still studying in secondary school. Till now, that particular interest never fades eventhough I have never been involved in any highrise projects yet in my architectural profession. The highest I have ever involved in is only about 30+ storeys. Well, I’m still at a very junior stage in my career. Long way to go, and I hope in near future, I can design impressive skyscrapers in any parts of the world.

Before that imagination or dream taking me too far away (haha), let’s get back to the skyscraper I’m going to describe a bit or two today. I believed I have mentioned Kingdom Tower before in my past blog posts. This tower is something that no one can take their eyes off. It is a skyscraper currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When completed (expected in year 2020), Kingdom Tower would be the tallest building (man-made structure too) in the world with height of over 1 000 metres (Yes…that’s over 1 kilometre). The final exact height of the tower isn’t disclosed yet similarly to that when Burj Khalifa (the current tallest) is opened several years ago only to reveal that its height is 828 m. But Kingdom Tower is sure to go beyond 1-km mark. Originally, it is planned to be over 1.6 km tall and was nicknamed A Mile-High Tower. But its height has to be slightly reduced as the geology of the site isn’t suitable for that height. But still with over 1-km tall, the tower easily surpasses the others for the world’s tallest title. It’s designed by Adrian Smith, the person who designed Burj Khalifa and many other skyscrapers too across the world.

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Recently, I have read an article from Architizer.com about 10 interesting facts of Kingdom Tower, and I would like to share it here:

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1. The tower will be home to the world’s highest observatory. It will also have a separate, 98-foot-diameter outdoor balcony, which was originally intended to be a helipad.

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2. The building is so big they are unable to show it realistically in one rendering. Only elevations and birds-eye views can contain the entire project. Imagine those construction drawings…

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3. The foundation piles are about as large as a small room at 10 feet in diameter, and can reach up to 360 feet in length.

4. Its shape is functional. The narrowing silhouette has to fight wind as well as gravity, so the three-sided shard is designed to be aerodynamic. The taper also helps maximize usable/rentable area. It offsets the large core size on the lower floors by widening the base, while the shape also narrows the core overall, making it less space-consuming at the top.

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5. Its form is interesting for a tower of its size. The “three petal” plan allows separate extrusions to nudge against one another, while the profile is inspired by folded fronds of young desert plant growth. Gill-like indentations add another scale of visual intrigue.

6. It’s on a plinth! But joking aside, the building does meet the ground in a nuanced, thoughtful way. Transportation routes crisscross around it, and the plinth melds it with its urban surroundings.

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7. It has 59 elevators and 12 escalators, and five of these elevators will be double decker. The lifts will not reach the speeds of normal elevators, as the change in air pressure at those altitudes would cause nausea. Three sky lobbies will prevent any one elevator from having to go all the way to the top, eliminating the need for excessively huge cables.

8. It has high-tech features. A high-performance exterior wall system, including low-conductivity glass, will minimize energy consumption by reducing thermal loads.

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9. There are super-cool patios all along its three sides. Each side features a series of shaded notches where outdoor terraces offer extreme views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.

10. The massive structure will contain 80,000 tons of steel. Parts of the core will contain concrete that is several meters thick.

Cool, isn’t it? It’s still a long way to go before the tower is completely built (its construction now is still at base level), but the anticipation to see it is already rising day by day, just like how the tower will steadily rise up soon to its final height of over 1-km mark. That’s a crazy height. Burj Khalifa’s 828 metres is already breathtaking. Over 1 km! Speechless. Besides than its height, I’m actually also quite like its futuristic-looking design, mostly coming from its appealing tapering form that ends sharply to the top. Impressive!

(Information and images in this post are from the original source at this link: http://architizer.com/blog/kingdom-tower-10-facts/. You can read more of the article by going to that link.)

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