Construction on the world’s tallest building has officially resumed in Saudi Arabia. Beating the UAE’s Burj Khalifa by about 172 meters, the Jeddah Tower will be over 1,000 meters height and span 1.5 square kilometers in its first phase of growth. This project is described as the ‘centerpiece’ of the Jeddah Economic City (JEC) development, an ambitious project intended to revive Jeddah’s urban core. Chicago-based practice Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill (AS + GG) Architecture took on the lead, envisioning a slender form conceptually derived from the fronds of a native flower emerging from the arid desert sand.
The mixed-use tower will accommodate a Four Season hotel, apartments, office space, luxury condominiums and the world’s highest observatory overlooking the adjacent Red Sea. An overall cost of $20 billion USD is estimated for the project, with approximately $1.2 billion USD assigned solely for the tower. Read designboom’s previous coverage of the tower here.
A local company known as Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) initially joined the Jeddah Tower project as the leading contractor, working closely with the German firm Bauer to complete the foundations and piling works back in the early 2010s. The latest report by MEE confirms that SGB has stepped down as a contractor while the AS + GG team remains onboard as the lead architecture firm, with the Lebanese company Dar al-Handasah joining as an engineering consultant.
That being said, Jeddah Economic City (JEC) has issued a tender for contractors to bid on the contract to complete the 1,000+ meter-high Jeddah Tower. The deadline for bids is set for the end of this year. With the piling and foundational works already completed (constituting 1/3 of the building progress), the latest on-site images reveal that construction has reached level 50 out of 157. The project’s expected completion date remains undisclosed.
As construction progresses for the Jeddah Economic City project, the tower’s sleek structural form will gradually emerge, boasting a synergy between the technological and the organic. Its three-petal footprint optimizes residential space, while its tapering wings create an aerodynamic shape that reduces wind loading. The result is an elegant, cost-efficient, and highly constructible design that is both grounded in tradition and forward-looking, incorporating innovative thinking about technology, building materials, life-cycle considerations, and energy conservation. The tower’s elevator system will be one of the most sophisticated in the world, with elevators traveling up to ten meters per second. At level 157, a sky terrace will be open to the public and will be the world’s highest observatory.
‘While the design is contextual to Saudi Arabia, it also represents an evolution and a refinement of an architectural continuum of skyscraper design. Jeddah Tower’s design embraces its architectural pedigree, taking full advantage of the proven design strategies and technological strategies of its lineage, refining, and advancing them to achieve new heights,’ stated Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill (AS + GG) Architecture.