Chicago-based architecture firm Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill is spearheading one of the globe’s most significant projects to date: The Jeddah Tower (formerly known as the Kingdom Tower). Set for 2017, the construction is planned to be the tallest building worldwide, reaching 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) with a surface area of 530,000 square meters (5.7 million square feet)—the first ever to reach 1 km high. Beyond its significant size, the site will also become symbolic. Towering over the Red Sea on the coast of the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, the building is intended to be a cultural marker on the holy pathway to the city of Mecca. From the Southeast corner of the tower one faces Islam’s holiest site: Ka’ba in Mecca.
Shaped according to a three-petal plan that mimics follicle growth on desert plants, the tripedal scheme will strengthen the structure’s aerodynamics. Extremely impressive, the tower will hold 59 elevators—five double-deck and 54 single-deck. Along with structural savvy, AS & GG have put in place a cost-efficient framework including a high-performance exterior wall system whose low-conductivity glass minimizes energy consumption through the reduction of thermal loads.
Beyond the tower, a 23-hectare, pedestrian-friendly waterfront district will include residential and commercial spaces that accommodate a peaceful setting along the lakefront.