When it comes to large constructions, Saudi Arabia plays in another league. More than skyscrapers or XXL constructions, theirs are authentic hyperboles of steel and concrete, surreal works that seem taken from an architecture manual for science fiction lovers. She is trying it with The Line, she wants to do it with Mukaab and she is determined to show it especially with Jeddah, a tower more than 1,000 meters high. Perhaps the works and their schedule have not progressed as the promoters initially planned, more than a decade ago, but the project is still alive and good proof is that they have just resumed it.
The goal: to look over your shoulder at Dubai’s impressive Burj Khalifa, which at 828 meters high is now the tallest skyscraper on the planet.
Huge… and complex. Nobody said building the tallest tower in the world was easy. Jeddah is good proof of this. Work to build the tower in the city of the same name, in Hejaz, next to the Red Sea, began approximately a decade ago after years of planning, studies and foundation work. The project was then called Kingdom Tower and it was suggested that the work could be ready within five years or even in 2018. Time would end up showing that these forecasts were optimistic.
Height comparison between the future Jeddah Tower and other current buildings.
A long story. The works progressed, the foundation was completed, 270 piles that were driven up to 105 m deep were deployed, and the building took shape little by little, although without even approaching the desired 1,000 meters high. Designboom assures that the latest images show that the construction reaches approximately level 50 and there are even those who point out that it is more advanced and already exceeds the 60th floor. In any case, it is far from the 170 levels that its promoters want to build.
The reality is that the project is significantly delayed and has no end date. The delay and stalemate are due in part to labor problems following the 2017 corruption purges or the pandemic.
And what has happened now? That the project seems to have gained new momentum. The news has been reported by MEED, a Dubai-based publication: its developer, Jeddah Economic Company (JEC), has decided to restart work to fulfill its long-standing goal of building the tallest building in the world, even larger than the Burj Khalifa. “The tower will be more than 1,000 meters high and is already underway,” a source close to the project guarantees to the Emirati media.
Its promoter has already invited important local and international contractors to present their offers to complete the infrastructure before the end of the year. At the moment, yes, there is no official confirmation and neither the studio that has been in charge of its design, Adrián Smith + Gill Gordon Architecture (AS+GG), nor Kingdom Holding Company or the JEC itself have responded to queries from media such as Dezeen or New Atlas on the status of the Saudi project.
What will the building be like? Immense. And that’s an understatement. It is not known exactly what height it will reach, but Jeddah Tower will exceed 1,000 meters, which will far exceed the almost 830 m of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the largest skyscraper in the world. At least until now. “With over 1,000 m and a total construction area of 530,000 square meters (m2), Jeddah Tower will be the centerpiece and first construction phase of the $20 billion Jeddah Economic City development,” he boasts. JEC.
Status of works in 2021.
Do we have more data? Yes. In 2014 JEC specified that the tower will be built on an area of 85,000 m2, will have 170 floors and will have a budget of about 1.5 billion dollars. Hyperbolic dimensions that will require you to have an equally surprising communications system.
“The tower will surpass any other high-rise building in the world with specifications that will exceed what is normally required. It will have 58 high-speed elevators, including double-deckers that will achieve a speed of 13 m/s, in addition to other distinctive characteristics that will make it an iconic landmark that will be a source of pride for the kingdom and its people,” JEC highlighted.
And inside? Once it is finished, the 170 floors of the Jeddah skyscraper will have plenty of space for different uses. At least the initial plans of its promoters were to dedicate seven to a five-star Four Seasons hotel with 200 rooms and as many levels as offices, 11 will be reserved for 121 luxury apartments and 61 will be reserved for 318 residences of different types, a gym, spa, cafes and restaurants. The tower will also have several lobbies and privileged views. At 644 m, on level 57, a viewpoint will actually open.
Images: JEC 1 and 2 and Wikipedia
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