From its genesis to the present day, architecture has, together with civil engineering, very often pushed the limits of the possible and achieved the unthinkable. The “war of the towers” is an illustration of this. It is a race for the height that began with the Egypt Pyramids and the Babel Tower of the Bible more than 4000 years ago. It continued with the Gothic cathedrals from the 12th century and saw the erection of the Eiffel Tower and its 330 meters at the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris. Since then, several towers as daring as each other have followed one another until the Burj Kalifa, which holds the record since 2010 with more than 800 m high. However, it will soon be doubled by the Jeddah Tower. You probably already know it as the future highest tower in the world. But in this race for height, it is not only the height that is impressive. So, are you really sure you know the Jeddah Tower?
Here is a list of 20 facts about this majestic tower. Some of them will certainly amaze you.
1. It has a profound symbolism for the country
The Jeddah Tower represents a desert plant that rises upwards to symbolize the growth of Saudi Arabia and its future. It is destined to become the beacon of business and leisure and open the door to a futuristic metropolis that will put Jeddah on the world stage.
2. Its shape gives it a good stability
The aerodynamic triangular shape and sloping exterior of the Jeddah Tower help reduce wind load. This shape follows the same pattern as that of the Burj Khalifa and allows for better stability. Shrinkage helps to maximize the usable surface area.
3. Outstanding piles
The foundation piles are about as large as a small piece 3 meters in diameter and can be up to 360 meters long.
4. The Jeddah Tower had been given other names
It is true that ” Jeddah Tower “, is the official name of this tower, but it was not originally called so. The first names it was given were “Mile-High Tower” and “Kingdom Tower”. The name Mile-High was given because it was originally intended to measure 1 mile (1609 meters).
5. The height of the Jeddah Tower has been changed
The original plan for the Jeddah Tower was to design a building one 1 mile (1609m) high. However, due to the geology of the site, which was considered unsuitable for such a structure, the plans were revised and the building will be at least 1,000m high. However, its exact height remains a secret and will only be revealed during the final phase of construction, as was the case for the Burj Khalifa.
6. An inordinate height
The building is so large that it is impossible to show it realistically in a single rendering. Only the elevations and bird’s-eye views can contain the entire project.
7. A record-breaking observatory
The Jeddah Tower will host the highest observatory in the world. It will also have a separate outdoor balcony at 610 meters, which was originally intended to serve as a heliport.
8. Connecting to the environment
There are super-cool patios all along its three sides. Each side has a series of shaded notches where the outdoor patios offer extreme views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.
9. The Jeddah Tower is just one part of a much larger project, the Jeddah Tower.
The Jeddah Tower is actually the first phase of a large project called “Jeddah Economic City” (originally called “Kingdom City”), which will include various buildings, including residences, shops, and offices. It is located in an area of 5,202,570 square meters and was designed by HOK Architects.
10. Unforeseen events have delayed the construction of the project
At the moment, construction is not progressing as planned. Indeed, the Saudi purge of 2017-19 led to the arrest of the owner of Kingdom Holding and the chairman of the Saudi Binladin group during a crackdown on corruption. A recent report, however, confirmed that this unexpected incident will not interfere with the completion of the project and that construction will continue in 2020.
11. Affected from the outset by a financial crisis
The project began in May 2008, when soil tests were conducted on-site. However, the project was interrupted in 2008-2009 and there was even concern that it would never proceed due to the global financial crisis at the time.
12. A futuristic design
The Tower of Jeddah has a neo-futuristic design, which is similar to that of Renzo Piano’s shard in London for example, or the Pickle. It represents an idealistic belief in a better future by integrating functionality into the aesthetics of the structural design. With the temperature in Jeddah reaching up to 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, the exterior wall system of the Jeddah Tower includes low conductivity glass to reduce energy consumption for air conditioning.
13. A colossal budget
The construction cost of the Jeddah Tower is estimated at approximately US$1.23 billion. The total cost of the Economic City of Jeddah, in which the tower is located, will amount to about US$20 billion and will take about 10 years to complete.
14. Owner of the Jeddah Tower and project manager
The main man of the project is Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal who owns the Kingdom Holding Company, a partner of the Jeddah Economic Company. He called upon Adrian Smith of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS + GG), a Chicago-based architecture and design firm. The firm has also designed the Burj Khalifa and many other remarkable structures around the world, including the Trump Tower in Chicago, the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, and the Zifeng Tower in Nanjing. The contract for the construction of the Jeddah Tower was awarded to the Saudi Binladin Group, which invested $400 million and took a 16.6% stake in the development of the Jeddah Economic Company. The founder of this construction group is none other than the father of the late Osama Bin Laden.
15. It contains a large hotel
The Four Seasons Hotel, also owned by Prince Al-Waleed, will be integrated into the Jeddah Tower and will offer 200 rooms and 121 luxury serviced apartments.
16. The number of floors is also a record.
The Jeddah tower will have more than 200 floors and will have only two basements. The total area of the floors will be 243,866 square meters. The top floor is expected to be located at a height of 668 meters.
17. Special care and attention to detail in the elevators
KONE, an international engineering company employing more than 55,000 people worldwide and headquartered near Helsinki, Finland, has won the contract to integrate elevators into the Jeddah Tower. There will be a total of 59 elevators, four of which will be two-storey.
18. Construction progress
After soil analyses, rumors about the start of construction were already circulating. However, the construction of the Jeddah Tower officially started on April 1, 2013, and was expected to take about 5 years (63 months). The piles were completed in December 2013 and the foundations were ready for the start of surface construction in September 2014. Construction progressed gradually and was about one-third of the building completed in 2018 until an unexpected event occurred. Its opening date was postponed to 2020 due to the difficult economic situation in the country.
19. A punctual intervention that acts on the whole tissue of the country.
The general concept of building a huge landmark in a residential and commercial development area was taken from the Burj Khalifa. The tower itself makes little or no profit, but the surrounding shopping centers, shops, and real estate make very high profits. It is believed that the area will become a major hub for tourists from all over the world visiting the Holy City of Makkah Al-Mukarramah, which will lead to huge gentrification of the entire city.
20. An impressive quantity of materials
The completed structure will weigh over 900 million kilograms (900,000 tones) and will use 500,000 cubic meters of concrete and 80 million kilograms of steel.