Around the block: Breaking ground on the world’s tallest skyscraper

The base of the Kingdom Tower:  the skyscarper will take five years to build at an estimated cost of just under €1 billion

The base of the Kingdom Tower: the skyscarper will take five years to build at an estimated cost of just under €1 billion

Thu, Apr 24, 2014, 00:00

Next week Saudi Arabia begins building the world’s tallest skyscraper. The Kingdom Tower in Jeddah will be 1km (3,280ft) high, and will take five years to build at an estimated cost of just under €1 billion. To put that in context, Dublin’s tallest commercial building, Montevetro in Grand Canal Dock, which Google bought for €100 million in late 2012, is just 67m high.

The Kingdom Tower is planned as the centrepiece of a €16 billion Kingdom City development north of Jeddah overlooking the Red Sea. When complete it will be 173m (568 ft) taller than the current Guinness world record holder, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which stands at 827m (2,716 ft). The Kingdom Tower will require approximately 5.7 million square feet of concrete and 80,000 tonnes of steel for its 200 floors.

The early occupants will include a five-star Four Seasons hotel, apartments, office space and an observatory.

There will be 59 elevators, including five that are double deckers. Those that take visitors to the observatory will travel at 10 metres per second.

The tower’s structure represents something of an engineering feat and needs to be able to withstand the saltwater of the ocean. The shape of the building will also have to be designed to withstand considerable windload.

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill are the design architects for the building.