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Mon 15 Aug 2011 04:23 PM

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No hurdle to Kingdom Tower hitting 2km

No structural reason why Alwaleed-backed tower could not top 2km, says engineer

No hurdle to Kingdom Tower hitting 2km
Initial designs for the Jeddah-based Kingdom Tower show a mixed-used building

Kingdom Tower, the 1km-tall superscraper set to steal the title of world’s tallest tower from the Burj Khalifa, could feasibly be double that size if required, the engineer on the project said.

The key hurdles behind the Jeddah tower are practical, rather than structural, said Bob Sinn, principal at engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, which is working on the superscraper.

“Kingdom Tower is certainly feasible. It’s not a structural challenge. Technically I think a 2km-tall tower could be done, but I don’t think it will be done anytime soon,” he told Arabian Business’ sister title, Middle East Architect.

“At extreme heights, the main challenges are along practical and architectural lines, not material or structural. The elevators take up a lot of the floor plate and it becomes more difficult to transport materials to the top.”

Initial designs for the Kingdom Tower, show a mixed-used building featuring a Four Seasons hotel, an observation deck and office space, served by 59 elevators.

Media reports earlier this year had suggested that the tower could be as large as 1,600m tall, making it twice as high as its nearest competitor, the 828m tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The tower is backed by Kingdom Holdings, the investment firm owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed. A subsidiary of the firm this month signed a $1.2bn deal with Binladin Group to construct the tower, which Prince Alwaleed described as “transformational”.

At a cost of $1.2bn, the superscraper is expected to be cheaper to build than its rival, the Burj Khalifa, thanks to a decline in construction costs following the global financial crash.

A report by consultancy EC Harris in July found Saudi Arabia was the cheapest Middle East country to build in, half as expensive as Bahrain and 34 percent cheaper than the UAE.

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Karen 8 years ago

The questions is...why do it? Would you live there? Think about a fire....

phil 8 years ago

In a country which is 99% desert, zero infrastructure, and with absolutely nothing to look at from the vantage point- what would be the point?

Perhaps installing underground sewage, and running water in the major cities should be a higher priority. I have yet to visit a less developed country

Mazen 8 years ago

Why did man go to the moon? Why was the Taj Mahal built?
Such questions have no answers. All that matter is that a visionary man is going to build the highest tower in the history of mankind, and that it will BE the admiration and envy of the whole world. Infrastructure in Saudi Arabia is far better than most countries of the world.

Robert 8 years ago

This is a vanity project pure and simple - plus a bit of "mine is bigger than yours" from the Saudis. It is not meant to make sense or be practical. Think of it as very expensive public art.

Nas 8 years ago


Have you been to Saudi? If not, what makes you say they have zero inftrastructure? Yes there is no good reason to build the tower, but that is not a reason for you to bash the country..