Jeddah Tower (Kingdom Tower) Facts and Introduction

Jeddah Tower is a hyper-tall skyscraper under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Below is the facts of this next world's tallest building.

The rendering of Jeddah Tower
The rendering of Jeddah Tower

Name: Jeddah Tower
The tower was first proposed as Mile High Tower in 2007, then in the later it was given the name of Kingdom Tower. In 2015, the tower was renamed to Jeddah Tower, which taken from the name of the city it located, as the new name is more likely to improve the identity of Jeddah city. Another reason of the name change is that the former name Kingdom Tower is easily to be confused with Kingdom Center, a supertall skyscraper in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Location:
The Jeddah Tower is actually isolated from the urban core of Jeddah, it's located approximately 20 kilometers or 12 miles north of the city of Jeddah, the land where the Jeddah Tower sits is currently still a desolate terrain, the region is planned to be developed into a new district of Jeddah known as Jeddah Economic City, Jeddah Tower is the centerpiece of this district and is being developed as the first phase of the project.

A render of planned Jeddah Economic City
A render of planned Jeddah Economic City




Render of planned Jeddah Economic City


Height: 1000 meters to 1300 meters
The exact figure is unknown, the only thing can be certain is the tower will be at least 1000 meters or 3300 ft.
Jeddah Tower was proposed by Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal with the intention of making it next tallest building in the world. The exact height of Jeddah Tower will not be unveiled by the official until it's completed, it's being kept as a secret, an action to prevent the tower from being surpassed by other potential rivalry projects, then make the building successfully become the next tallest building in the world as expected.
However, it can be certain that the tower will be significantly shorter than a mile high. When the building was first proposed, Prince Talal intended to build it to a mile high, in the later by May 2008, a soil test taken on the site of the project found that the land is not suitable for a building that high.
Additionally the tapering ratio of current built portion of the building also indicates that the final height will not be way more than 1000 meters, unless they make the spire longer, which will affect the aesthetic aspect.
And the progress of construction is relatively slow, as of August 2017, the tower is still only
240 meters tall since it started rising above the ground 3 years ago, there's still a long way to go before topping out. In other hand, Dubai Creek Tower which currently under construction in Dubai will be at least 1300 meters, and largely comprised of slender structure, thus the progress will be much faster.
It's highly possible that the building will never become the tallest tower in the world. However, since Dubai Creek Tower has cables to support, it may not be considered by CTBUH as a standard building, in this case Jeddah Tower can still become the world's tallest building.




Uses: Office, Residential, Hotel, Observation
Jeddah Tower is a mixed-use skyscraper,
The first 5 floors at the bottom of the tower will be used as retail spaces.
As the lower floors have larger floor plate, which is suitable for offices, the floors above bottom floors and under 90th floor will be used for offices.
Residential floors start from 94th floor to 114th floor, occupying only 20 floors.
Hotels occupies from 115th to 156th floor, the 157th floor will be the level where the observation deck located, the hotel will be operated by Four Seasons Hotels.
The floors above the level of observation deck are mainly mechanical floors, but also features penthouses.

Owner: The owner of Jeddah Tower is Jeddah Economic Company, which is also the developer that develops the Jeddah Tower and the Jeddah Economic City. Jeddah Economic Company is formed by several holding companies, including Kingdom Holding Company which proposed the project of the building, and Saudi BinLaden Group, the main contractor of the project and some other investment companies.
Design:
Jeddah Tower is designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, which led by Adrian Smith, who also designed the Burj Khalifa when he was working under Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

The rendering of Jeddah Tower
The rendering of Jeddah Tower

Adrian Smith draws on the shape of Burj Khalifa to designed the approximate shape of Jeddah Tower, the structural system with such shape is known as the buttressed core, which is simply a three winged centrum, it's believed being able to make the building more stable than those with other ordinary shapes and can effectively reduce the wind loads. As a result, similar to the Burj Khalifa the cross-section of the Jeddah Tower is also Y-shaped that has three wings separated by 120 degrees, with one pointed symbolically towards the holy city Mecca, as the developer aims to make Jeddah the gateway of Mecca.




The rendering of Jeddah Tower
The rendering of Jeddah Tower

The difference between the two towers is that the shape of Jeddah Tower is largely simplified in comparison with Burj Khalifa, the curtain walls of the tower on all the three wings are sloped and smoothly stretched from the base to spire, each wing of the tower terminate at different altitudes from 700 m to 800 m, hence they actually taper at slightly different rates.

There are a series of notches intruded from the smooth exterior all along the three wings of the building, serving to provide many outdoor terraces that offer stunning views of the cityscape and the Red Sea for the occupants.

This rendering of Jeddah Tower shows the notches on the exterior of the tower.

The tower will have 167 habitable floors above ground, making up over 240,000 square meters of floor area, if the mechanical floors in spire is counted, the tower has a total of 252 floors.
Jeddah Tower has 59 elevators, including 5 double-deck elevators, which are mainly used for transporting the tourists to the observation deck, these elevators for tourists travels at 10 m per second, it's not very fast compared to the elevators in Shanghai Tower or Taipei 101, but the elevators travel at very high speed in such a tall building will cause nausea.
As the the length of cables of elevators increase, the difficulties for them to lift the elevators up will also increase, this is because the weight of cables themselves is also considerable if they are very long. To solve this problem, none of the elevators in Jeddah Tower will transport people from the ground floor to the highest occupied floor. The tower will have three sky lobbies at different height, allowing elevator transfers to be made for visitors and occupants.

Looking up at the sky terrace of Jeddah Tower
Looking up at the sky terrace of Jeddah Tower

A viewing platform is outstretched from one of the upper floors of the tower, this is one of most distinctive features of the tower, for details of the viewing platform, see the section of Tourism and Sightseeing below.

Development:
Jeddah Tower was first proposed by Al-Waleed Bin Talal, who is the owner of Saudi Holding Company and a prince of Saudi Arabia, he is one of the top 20 richest people in the world and richest in the Middle East.

Al-Waleed Bin Talal, the man who proposed Jeddah Tower
Al-Waleed Bin Talal, the man who proposed Jeddah Tower and the co-founder of Jeddah Economic Company, which is currently developing the Jeddah Tower




Prince Talal proposed a mile high tower along with a new city in 2007.
The intention is to show off the wealth and power of Saudi Arabia, and also to improve the identity of city of Jeddah, to make it the gateway of the the holy city mecca. Another purpose is to increase the land value around the tower, making the district of the tower a new extension of the city.

Jeddah Tower in the future Jeddah Economic City
Jeddah Tower among other buildings in Jeddah Economic City
Jeddah Tower among other buildings in Jeddah Economic City

In order to develop the project, in 2009 Kingdom Holding Company joint Abrar Holding Company and some other investors formed a company named Jeddah Economic Company specially for developing the Jeddah Tower and the Jeddah Economic City.

The main contractor of Jeddah Tower is Saudi BinLaden Group, a group founded by father of former Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and is owned by family of Bin Laden, someone think it's ironic for this group to build the tallest building, but the group had denied ties to Osama Bin Laden and Osama had been removed from the shareholders long before the 2001 terrorism attack.
Another notable skyscraper constructed by Saudi BinLaden Group is Abraj Al Bait in Mecca, which is the 3rd tallest building in the world by 2017, and it's also the largest skyscraper building on the planet by floor area and volume.

In August 2011, Prince Talal declared that the construction for Jeddah Tower will start soon, after that it would take 36 months to complete. The construction is expected to cost about $1.2 billion.
In September 2012 the developer announced that financing for the Jeddah Tower was complete, claiming they have got all the money that needed for the development of the tower.
Construction for Jeddah Tower started on April 1, 2013.
The piling work for the tower was completed in December 2013.
In September 2014, construction began to move on to above ground, the tower finally started rising, not long after that, the oil price sharply dropped and collapsed the oil revenues of the nation, this largely affected the construction speed of Jeddah Tower.

Not only that, in September 2015 a crane of Saudi Holding Group collapsed in Grand Mosque, killing 118 people and hundreds injured, the incident also slowed down the construction of Jeddah Tower due to a series of inspections forced by Saudi Government.

In July 2015, Jeddah Tower reached 70 meters,

In November 2015,  Jeddah Tower had been built to 26th floors, reaching 110 meters.

Jeddah Tower seen in November 2015
Jeddah Tower seen in November 2015




Jeddah Tower seen in November 2015 from Red Sea
Jeddah Tower seen in November 2015 from Red Sea

In March 2016, the tower surpassed 150 meters, which is one of most used threshold for defining a skyscraper.

By the end of 2016, the tower had surpassed 200 meters, since then the tower can be seen as a skyscraper by any definition.

Jeddah Tower seen in December 2016
Jeddah Tower seen in December 2016

As of the end of August 2017, the building has reached the 62nd floor, at around 250 meters tall. At the time the above-ground construction of the tower has lasted for a total of three years, but the tower is still under 250 meters tall.

Jeddah Tower seen in August 2017
Jeddah Tower seen in August 2017

By contrast, after 3 years of above-ground construction Burj Khalifa had surpassed 650 meters in 2008. The progress of construction of Jeddah Tower is quite slow, about only 80 meters increase per year. Although several months ago the medias reported that Jeddah Tower could be completed in 2019, it's highly unlikely to come true, by current speed the tower will not even top out before 2022.




Tourism and sightseeing:

As can be seen from many renderings of Jeddah Tower, the tower features a distinctive outdoor circular sky terrace that cantilevers from the exterior of the west side of the tower, facing the red sea.

The sky terrace on Jeddah Tower
The sky terrace on Jeddah Tower

Such kind of structure can also be found on some other skyscrapers like the soon-to-be-built 30 Hudson Center in New York, Burj Al Arab in Dubai and Bitexco Financial Tower in Vietnam, but the cantilevered platform on the last one is a helipad not observation deck, in fact the cantilevered observation deck on Jeddah Tower was originally also designed as a helipad that to be built exclusively for the tenants of the penthouses at uppermost floors, offering fast and convenient access to those floors. However considering the wind at such an altitude is strong hence not safe for helicopters to land on, so it was then designed to become an observation deck instead.
The observation deck is 30 meters or 98 feet in diameter, it will protrudes from the 157th floor of the tower while the tower has a total of 167 occupied floors. As the final height of Jeddah Tower is unclear, the exact height of this observation deck is unknown, it could ranges from 630m to 670m, it may become the world’s highest observation deck or second maybe, since the observation decks on Dubai Creek Tower is much higher.

Looking down at the sky terrace on Jeddah Tower
Looking down at the sky terrace on Jeddah Tower
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