Work Begins on World's First Kilometer-high Building

The Kingdom Tower in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah will be 172 meters taller than Khalifa Towers in Dubai.

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Above-ground construction of the world’s first kilometer-high building, the Kingdom Tower in the Saudia Arabian port city of Jeddah, is set to begin next week, according to Construction Week Online.

The $1.2 billion project was first proposed in 2011 but has been delayed by setbacks. Nevertheless, work on the super-skyscraper's foundations began in December and above-ground work is now due to commence.

At 1,000 meters, Kingdom Tower will be 172 meters taller than Khalifa Tower, the current Guinness World Record holder in neighboring Dubai, once it is completed.

The tower is the first phase of Jeddah Economic Company's approximately $20 billion, 17 million-square-foot Kingdom City project, of which it will be the focal point. Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, is chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company, a partner in JEC.

The Kingdom Tower will encompass a total construction area of 530,000 square meters, will have 200 floors in total, 160 of which will be habitable, and contain 59 elevators, including five double-deck elevators.

"Our vision for Kingdom Tower is one that represents the new spirit of Saudi Arabia," Adrian Smith, cofounder of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the firm that designed the tower, said in a press release. "This tower symbolizes the Kingdom as an important global business and cultural leader, and demonstrates the strength and creative vision of its people."

Even getting to this point has been challenging. Planning concerns have included resistance to salt water and high winds, as well as how concrete will be delivered to higher floors, as the tower is erected. The project will require around 80,000 tons of steel.

Kingdom Tower will house a Four Seasons hotel, luxury condominiums, office space and an observatory.

Illustration of the planned, kilometer-high tower.Credit: Screenshot