THE KILOMETER HIGH CLUB
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|There's only one member in this club: Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill's Adrian Smith (whom we snapped in his downtown office Thursday) won the competition to design the world's tallest tower, the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It's the first building in the world that will be one kilometer tall—much taller than the world's current tallest building (which he also designed while at SOM), the paltry 828-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Here's Adrian with a model of the tower that he tested in a wind tunnel. He tells us the tripod design is the most efficient for supertall buildings because it allows the wind to counterbalance on different sides, creating less sway on the upper floors. The walls will also curve inward to eliminate wind vortex buildup that would prevent the construction of terraces. It will serve as The Four Seasons hotel, apartments, condos, and offices in the new Kingdom City district of Jeddah.|
|The $1.2B building is funded by private investors, but Adrian says it actually won't bring in very much profit. The tower will instead serve as a catalyst to bring in business to the surrounding community— which hasn't been built yet. North Jeddah is mostly vacant land, but AS+GG is designing a shopping mall and HOK is making a community plan for the area. (Plus the big money that will come in from people who want to high five an airplane.) The Kingdom Tower will take about 63 months to build on a three-shift, round-the-clock construction schedule. So how tall is too tall? Adrian says he has a conceptual plan to build a one-mile structure, but such a building would be impractical because it would need a 500-foot diameter base (more than 1.5 Chicago blocks) and would be unlikely to bring in enough money to cover construction and operation costs.|