Design development of the tower is under way, with construction to begin imminently. Foundation drawings are complete and the piling for the tower is currently being tendered.
Saudi Binladin Group is the contractor for Kingdom Tower, which will be built in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as part of the Kingdom City development. Kingdom Tower will cost approximately US$1.2bn (£734m) o construct, while the cost of the entire Kingdom City project is anticipated to be US$20bn.
The tower will be more than 1,000m tall and have a total construction area of 530,000m2. It will be 173m taller than the current record-holder, Dubai's 828m-tall Burj Khalifa, which was designed by Adrian Smith while at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The sleek, streamlined form of the tower was inspired by the folded fronds of young desert plant growth.
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) is leading an interdisciplinary design team that also includes building services consultant Environmental Systems Design (ESD) and structural engineering consultant Thornton Tomasetti. The developer of Kingdom City, Jeddah Economic Company (JEC), selected the scheme after a competition process in which SOM, Pickard Chilton, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Pelli Clarke Pelli and Foster + Partners also participated.
"Our vision for Kingdom Tower is one that represents the new spirit of Saudi Arabia," said Smith. "This tower symbolizes the Kingdom as an important global business and cultural leader, and demonstrates the strength and creative vision of its people. It represents new growth and high-performance technology fused into one powerful iconic form. "
The project is the brainchild of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and chairman of Kingdom Holding Company.
"Kingdom Tower's height is remarkable, obviously, but the building's iconic status will not depend solely on that aspect,” said Talal Al Maiman, a board member of Kingdom Holding Company and a board member of JEC. “Its form is brilliantly sculpted, making it quite simply one of the most beautiful buildings in the world of any height."
Features of the project include a high-performance exterior wall system that will minimize energy consumption by reducing thermal loads. In addition, each of Kingdom Tower's three sides features a series of notches that create pockets of shadow that shield areas of the building from the sun and provide outdoor terraces with stunning views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.
The Kingdom Tower complex will contain 59 elevators, including 54 single-deck and five double-deck elevators, along with 12 escalators. Elevators serving the observatory will travel at a rate of 10m/second in both directions.
The design also includes a terrace, roughly 30m in diameter, at level 157.
AS+GG also designed the masterplan for the 23-hectare Kingdom Tower Waterfront District, which surrounds the tower and which will include residential and commercial buildings, a shopping mall, outdoor spaces and other amenities.