Construction work on Kingdom Tower, the 1,000m superscraper set to steal the crown of world’s tallest building from Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, is scheduled to begin within weeks, the architect firm behind the project has confirmed.
The $1.2bn tower, which is backed by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed, is the Gulf state’s most ambitious building yet and will be constructed in three phases over five years.
“Construction of Kingdom Tower is scheduled to begin in January,” a spokesperson from Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, designers of the superscraper.
Founding partner Adrian Smith was also the architect behind the 828m-tall Burj Khalifa.
The giant structure will include a Four Seasons hotel, apartments, offices, three lobbies on the upper floors and the world’s highest observation deck on the 157th level.
It will be located in the first phase of Kingdom City, a 5.3m mixed-use development north of Jeddah, which overlooks the Red Sea and Obhur Creek.
Smith said in August the main lessons learned from designing the Burj Khalifa that transferred over to Kingdom Tower centered on the stepped or tapered tower design.
“Wind forces are significant in a tower of 1km,” he said. “When the wind moves around a building, it creates negative pressure areas behind the building, which creates little tornados or vortices, which push the tower from side to side.
“One of the ways to mitigate that is to step the tower, or slope it. Sloping is more effective but it is a little more expensive.”
Prince Alwaleed’s investment firm said it planned to use a mix of bank financing, cash and revenue from the project to build the Jeddah-based skyscraper. The tower’s price tag is expected to be significantly less than that of the $1.5bn Burj Khalifa, thanks to a decline in construction costs following the financial crash.
Saudi Binladin Group in August won the deal to construct the tower.
Prince Alwaleed told Arabian Business in August the project would be “transformational”.
“These are the kind of projects l like to do,” he said. “These big projects need vision, strength and guts to do.”