World’s tallest ... an artist’s rendition of the tower.

AN AMBITIOUS initiative to build the world’s tallest tower in Saudi Arabia has received the final go-ahead, with the award of the construction licence for the structure that is expected to rise more than 1,000 m high on the Jeddah skyline.

The Kingdom Tower is to be built at a cost of SR4.6 billion ($1.2 billion), according to Kingdom Holding Company, whose chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the driving force behind the decision to build the super skyscraper.

Kingdom Tower will be the centrepiece and the first construction phase of Kingdom City, Jeddah Economic Company’s (JEC) new urban development of more than 5.3 million sq m of land in the north of Jeddah overlooking the Red Sea and Obhur Creek, the construction of which began in January.

The overall estimated cost of the entire Kingdom City project is anticipated to be SR75 billion ($20 billion).

The partners of JEC are Kingdom Holding Company, Samaual Bakhsh, Abraar, International Holding Company, prominent Jeddah businessmen Abdulrahman Hassan Sharbatly and Saudi Binladin Group (SBG).

Five contractors were invited to offer proposals for the Kingdom Tower and a shortlist of three firms submitted final offers for the construction of the tower. The Saudi Binladin Group (SBG), whose offer was the most attractive in terms of price, quality and schedule, was chosen for the project.

With a total construction area of more than 500,000 sq m, the soaring Kingdom Tower will be a mixed-use building featuring a Four Seasons hotel, Four Seasons serviced apartments, premium office space, luxury condominiums and an observatory.

In addition to its status as an architectural landmark and economic symbol, the tower will enjoy great cultural significance. “We envision Kingdom Tower as a new iconic marker of Jeddah’s historic importance as the traditional gateway to the holy city of Makkah,” said Talal Al Maiman, executive director, development and domestic investments, a board member of Kingdom Holding Company and JEC.

“Kingdom Tower will be a landmark structure that will greatly increase the value of the hundreds of other properties around it in Kingdom City and indeed throughout North Jeddah,” he added.

An interdisciplinary team led by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), based in Chicago, created the design of the Kingdom Tower. The team also included building services engineering consultant Environmental Systems Design and structural engineering consultant Thornton Tomasetti, engineer of three of the world’s top 10 tallest buildings.
JEC selected the AS+GG scheme after a lengthy competition process in which SOM, Pickard Chilton, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Pelli Clarke Pelli and Foster + Partners also participated.