Saudi Arabia likes XXL buildings, a magnitude to which in his case, in view of the projects he has on the table, another X could well be added. In 2021 he surprised with his proposal for The Line, a gigantic city in the shape of a glass corridor 170 kilometers long by 200 meters wide. And now, with the excavators already working on that mass, he wants to embark on a new heart-stopping architectural adventure: a huge cube 400 meters high by many meters long that will be erected in the center of Riyadh. His name, Mukaab.
The objective of its promoters is to create the largest building in the city, rather than the PIF Tower or the Burj Rafal, and also provide it with a spectacular cubic shape of 400×400 m with a façade formed by superimposed triangles. Inside it will have a wide atrium where a spiral tower will rise.
“It will be an outstanding iconic landmark featuring the latest innovative technologies. The Mukaab’s design includes one-of-a-kind facilities and will be one of the largest built structures in the world, standing 400m high, 400m wide and 400m long. Its shape will guarantee maximum use of space”, highlights the Public Investment Fund (PIF), whose board of directors is chaired by the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
“A Door to Another World”
The block will be inspired by the Najdi architectural style and, points out the PIF, it will become “the first immersive destination in the world”, with an “experience created through digital and virtual technology with the latest in holography“. Inside it will offer two million square meters distributed in residential, hotel and commercial space, with cultural and tourist attractions.
“A gateway to another world. The Mukaab will be the world’s first immersive and experiential destination. Large enough to house 20 Empire State Buildings, the global icon will feature innovative technologies to transport you to new worlds,” stood out recently the PIF.
Its design, however, not everyone liked. As Ummid points out, there are those who do not quite see with good eyes the reasonable resemblance of it with the Kaaba, a religious site located in Mecca with a crucial value for Muslims.
Mukaab will not be in any case an isolated building. The purpose of its promoters is that it be integrated into a larger project, the New Murabba, which aspires to provide Riyadh with the “largest modern center in the world”: an area of 19 square kilometers – the project wants to offer more than 25 million of square meters—in which hundreds of thousands of people would reside.
If the objectives of its promoters are met, it will end up agglutinating something more than 104,000 residential units, 9,000 hotel rooms, some 890,000 square meters of commercial premises, 1.4 million m2 of offices, 620 m2 of leisure premises and 1.8 million m2 of community use. At the time of projecting it, the promoting fund has also contemplated an iconic museum, a university of technology and design and even an immersive theater.
“It will offer a unique experience of life, work and leisure within a radius of 15 minutes on foot and will have its own internal transport system,” they insist. For now, Mohammad bin Salman has already announced the launch of the New Murabba Development Company (NMDC), in charge of its development.
FPI estimates that NMDC will help diversify sources of income of the Saudi economy, it will create 334,000 direct and indirect jobs while it develops its work and will contribute 180,000 million SAR -44,800 million euros- to the non-oil GDP. Regarding the schedule, those responsible do not delve into details, they only advance: “The completion of the project is scheduled for 2030.”
Its data is impressive, but it pales when compared to that displayed by The Line, a project that pushes the very concept of mega-construction to the limit, with a metropolis 170 kilometers long by 500 meters high and 200 meters wide, dimensions that will make you look like a huge glass corridor in the middle of the desert with capacity for nine million people.
Images: New Murabba
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