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.
From / Arabian Business News