World's tallest building planned for Iraq's Basra Province


AMBS Architects has proposed a 1,152-metre-tall skyscraper for Iraq's Basra Province, which would surpass Jeddah's Kingdom Tower and Dubai's Burj Khalifa to become the tallest building in the world (+ slideshow).

Composed of four conjoined towers, The Bride tower's 230 storeys would be topped by an 188-metre-tall antenna.

Bride tower by AMBS Architects

This would make the structure 152 metres higher than the planned height of the Kingdom Tower, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and currently under construction in the Saudi Arabian city.

The world's tallest building title is currently held by Dubai's 830-metre Burj Khalifa skyscraper, also designed by Smith and Gill while working at US firm SOM.

Bride tower by AMBS Architects

AMBS Architects' Bride tower would be surrounded by a glazed canopy on its south facade, referred to as a "veil" and designed to offer shade to the complex's low-rise buildings and public areas.

The structure's three other towers would measure 724 metres, 484 metres and 61 metres respectively.

Bride tower by AMBS Architects

Basra is located in the south of Iraq, and is a rapidly growing business centre. The building takes its name from the local area: the Bride of the Gulf.

AMBS Architects has offices in London and Baghdad, and is also behind the design of the first public library to be built in Iraq since the 1970s.

The firm described its skyscraper as "the first vertical city in the world", saying it will not only be the tallest structure but will break new ground in engineering and vertical transportation.

Bride tower by AMBS Architects

The Bride is designed to house offices, hotels, residential areas, commercial centres, parks and gardens, and even its own rail network across the 1,550,908 square metres of floor space.

"In contrast to a conventional tower, The Bride will be a place that may be enjoyed by all, not only for the ones that live and work there, but also the rest of the public," the firm said in a statement.

Bride tower by AMBS Architects

Breaking the 600-metre height mark, the tower would fall into the category of "mega tall". Towers over 300 metres are known as "super tall".

"Super-tall towers are perceived as an object in the distance," said AMBS. "An alien planted in the city, disconnected from the urban scale at ground level. The Bride, on the other hand, will be conceived as a city itself both vertically but also horizontally from the ground."

"It will be enjoyed by thousands of people in endless ways, within it, on it or under it," the firm added. "From walking in the vast shaded parks and promenades at ground level, to having lunch or shopping in a sky-square hundreds of metres above sea level."

Bride tower by AMBS Architects
Diagram showing the space efficiency of Vertical City in comparison to other to super-tall towers

The Bride is planned to be a net-zero structure – meaning it would produce as much energy as it consumes. No start date for construction has been set.

Architect Jeanne Gang is also set to break a "world's tallest" record for the highest building designed by a woman, while a building by Patrick Blanc and Jean Nouvel holds the title of world's tallest vertical garden.

Dubai has also planned a pair of rocket-shaped buildings it says will be the world's tallest twinned skyscrapers.

Bride tower by AMBS Architects
Diagram of towers one and two – click for larger image
Bride tower by AMBS Architects
Diagram of towers three and four – click for larger image
  • Hej!

    South Iraq may be safe. It is impossible to attract millions of people to Iraq because of associations people have with Iraq like war, terror attacks and islamic state.

    • hudia

      Sheer folly. Basra, Safwan and the entire Shatt Al Arab region of Iraq is drenched in depleted uranium since the Persian Gulf War in 1990, and its escalated 1000 times since 2003. Birth defects are rampant, the veggies look like Fukushima Garden and the water is deadly.

      Slapping a glossy white elephant over everything won’t change a thing. Spend the time and effort on an environmental cleanup.

  • Matt U.

    Just what Iraq needs.

    • Ervin Schömer


    • Ali-K

      YES WE DO.

      • Durgen Jensen

        Ali-K, are you agreeing with his statement about bombs or are you saying you need tall buildings?

        • Ali-K

          We need tall buildings in Basra because it is safe place.

    • juvus

      What Iraq needs is for someone to make sure bombs don’t go off on their way to the store and to help with the cholera epidemic. Tall buildings, not so much.

      • Matt U.

        You folks don’t get sarcasm.

  • Erlend AB

    First we invade them. Now this…

    • Ali-K

      Your invasion did not destroy us.

  • Anon

    New Isis digs?

  • Jonathan Tuffin

    Maybe in 60 years when the security situation has improved.

    • Hej!

      South Iraq is not as dangerous as north Iraq.

    • Ali-K

      South Iraq is safe, it’s just the north.

  • Guest

    The world’s tallest building planned for Iraq? Dezeen, are you sure you’ve got this right?

    • SteveLeo

      I imagine they double checked it.

    • Eddie Chua

      I think it’s a reprint from The Onion.

  • Remco Boersma

    Ridiculous to spend a sh*t load of money on a project like this in a country that has that many other issues that need to be solved.

  • James Briano

    Will the elevators work without electricity?

    • Fman

      They will design power system with off-grid operation using on-site generation.

  • Durgen Jensen

    The “veil” that covers part of the tower and the surrounding area around the base is HUGE! That is so much material and looks incredibly expensive! It looks like a student project that needs refinement and lacks a connection to reality.

    • This is EXACTLY what I thought. Looking at the diagram of tallest buildings gives an even more gruesome comparison. This thing is in its own category of “monstrously proportioned.” There is nothing delicate/refined about this proposal. I would rather see three mid-sized towers than this hulking plopper of a building.

  • rickbradner

    Hard to imagine what could possibly go wrong…

  • Ha ha ha ha ha, heeeeee, snort, ha ha ha ha… ahhhh me… that’s really a good one, thanks.

  • Kay

    Everyone deserves peace and prosperity, but it is super cheesy that this happens after Iran and the West become best buds. Next thing you know it, they annex southern Iraq, hand it to Iran and both the West and Iran share the spoils of the abundance of oil…

    Anybody else thinks this looks like what the original Pinnacle in London was going to be?

  • Eddie Chua

    Maybe in 2,000 years when rational thinking takes over supernatural religious beliefs that foster conflicts and mayhem.

  • spadestick

    Looks like New Babel but it’ll never happen.

  • Ali-K

    Iraq needs better than this. #IRAQ_IS_HERE

  • spadestick

    It would make sense if the entire building generates its own power due to the sunny environment, leaving the oil alone, whether legitimate or ill-gotten.

  • zenjebil

    Maybe they should sort out the electricity and infrastructure first. Idiots.

  • James

    It’s encouraging to see ambitious ideas put forward for the future of Iraq.

  • JD

    Is Iraq ready for this level of development? I suspect not.

  • Marquez

    I have to say, that tower is pretty nice but they need to think this through again. That ridiculous veil is going to anger a lot of surrounding businesses. Shade is good but not everyone wants a ridiculous piece of junk hovering over them.

    Even though south Iraq is not as dangerous as the north, the country still needs to get its issues straightened out.

  • Conor

    Are you sure someone didn’t hit 200% on the photocopier by accident, the scale of this design is absolutely vast.

  • Subordination

    The Tower of Babel has a tall son.