New World's Tallest Building Will Be Very Tall [UPDATE]

Saudi Arabia will soon be home to a mile-high building, dubbed "The Kingdom Tower." Gulf News reports that it will be erected (you can say that about a building in Saudi Arabia, right?) in the Obhur Gulf, just outside of the port city Jeddah. Kingdom Holding Company is funding the structure, which will be surrounded by a new 80,000-person city. An end date has not been announced, but the plan -- initiated in mid-2008 -- has been given the green light.

This isn't the first time a mile-high tower has been dreamed up. Frank Lloyd Wright designed The Illinois, a 1.6-thousand-meter-high building, as a solution to urban congestion. It was scrapped because it wasn't feasible due to the expense and lack of materials available at the time. The Kingdom Tower will cost over $20 billion, but money isn't an issue for Kingdom Holding's Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal (probably because he is a prince).

The Kingdom Tower will house a hotel, offices, and residences. It will be about twice the height of the current tallest building in the world, Dubai's Burj Khalifa (not to be confused with Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa). Like the Burj Khalifa, the Kingdom Tower is being designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

Is there a need for a structure so tall its very height defies and obstructs any real chance it has to be useful? Should that heavy of an investment be made to fund a vanity project in such a volatile and unpredictable part of the world?

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Who cares? It will take elevators 12 whole minutes to climb to the top! WOW WOW WOW!

UPDATE: A representative of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture wrote us to say that all reports of their involvement with the Kingdom Tower are "based on anonymous, unofficial sources." He added that the firm is not working on a mile-high tower design and that they are not responsible for any of the renderings that have appeared on the internet.

Tallest tower plan in Jeddah on track [Gulf News via Curbed]

[ngreene@villagevoice.com / @nickgreene]


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