Dezeen Magazine

Jeddah Tower

World's tallest skyscraper restarts construction in Saudi Arabia

Construction work has resumed on Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, a skyscraper designed by Chicago-based studio Adrian Smith + Gill Gordon Architecture, which is expected to become the world's tallest building.

According to Dubai-based magazine Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), work will resume on the project after nearly a decade of construction.

Designed by Adrian Smith + Gill Gordon Architecture (AS+GG), the skyscraper is planned to reach a height of 1,000 metres.

This would make it taller than the current record-holder, the 828-metre-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, a tower that Smith led during his time at architecture studio Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM).

Renderings of Jeddah Tower, formerly known as Kingdom Tower, have shown a sleek glass-clad structure with a triangle footprint and fin-like indents on the side that tapers up to a pinnacle.

Jeddah Tower under construction
Jeddah Tower in 2019 with foundation complete. Photo by S Nitzold via Wikipedia Commons

Jeddah Tower will hold a Four Seasons hotel, residences, offices as well as the world's highest observation deck on a constructed building.

The first images of the prospective tower were released in 2011, and ground was broken in 2013, but the project has been harried by constant starts and stops.

These delays included ones caused by labour issues after contractor the Binladin Group was taken off the project due to its owner Bakr bin Laden, who was arrested as part of the 2017 corruption purges in the country.

According to MEED, developer Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) is currently seeking new bids for a contractor to complete the project.

The pilings and foundation for the project have been completed and as of 2018, the building had reached the 63rd floor.

AS+GG did not respond to requests for confirmation of the project's status.

kingdown tower
Renderings of the project show the tower having a triangular base and sleek, tapered form. Images courtesy of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture/Jeddah Economic Company.

Saudi Arabia is undertaking a slurry of development projects, and is currently underway on at least 14 "giga projects", including the 170-kilometre-long city called The Line. This is part of the Neom project, which has been criticised by the United Nation's Human Rights Council.

In an interview with Dezeen, Amnesty International's Peter Frankental said that companies working on Neom were facing a "moral dilemma" and should "think twice" about their continuing involvement in the project.

In Jeddah, plans have been put forward for a 5.7 million-square-metre residential and arts complex called Jeddah Central, funded by the country's sovereign wealth fund – the Public Investment Fund.

Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill founded their eponymous firm in 2006 after both departed from SOM.

The studio's recent projects include The Central Park Tower in New York, which at the time of its construction was the world's tallest residential building.