Skyscrapers are about to reach the 1km mark, with work due to start on the world’s tallest building this weekend. Construction on the Kingdom Tower, located in the Red Sea city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, will start this Sunday, April 27.
Reaching a kilometer into the sky, the super-tall tower will have 200 floors in total, of which 160 are inhabitable. The total cost of the project is estimated at US$1.2 billion. The tower will claim the title of world’s tallest building from Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which it will surpass in height by at least 173 meters (568 feet).
The mixed-use building is at the center of the $20 billion Kingdom City development in Jeddah. It will feature a luxury hotel, office space, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums, and the world’s highest observatory. The building will reportedly need 5.7 million square feet of concrete and 80,000 tonnes of steel to build.
Paying tribute to the local environment, architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Hill say the design is based on the folded fronds of young desert plants. According to information about the project on their website: “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 elegant, contemporary design also aims to be green. The skyscraper will have a high-performance exterior wall system that will minimize energy consumption. It features a series of notches designed to create pockets of shadow to protect the building from the sun while providing outdoor terraces with views over the city.
At such massive heights, the building also needs a sophisticated elevator system. There will be 59 elevators in total, including 54 single-deck and five double-deck elevators. Elevators to the observatory will travel at a rate of 10 meters per second. There will be a sky terrace on level 157, giving the penthouse floor exclusive access to an outdoor space.
Work on the foundations of the building began in December 2013. In total, the tower is expected to take 63 months to complete.