Jeddah Tower, The Story of Breaking the One Kilometer Skyscraper Barrier

Jeddah Tower will be the world’s tallest skyscraper with a height of 1,007 meter (3 303.8 feet) when completed. It will be the first building to reach the height of 1 kilometer if it is ever going to be built. 

Soil testing on the site began in 2008 and the architect for the tower, Adrian Smith was selected in 2010. 2011 saw the beginning of the foundation work and the Jeddah Tower (then known as Kingdom Tower) was supposed to be completed around 2016 or 2017. 

Currently building works are on-hold and there is no date for the completion of the tower and the nearby city.

How Tall is the Jeddah Tower

The Jeddah Tower was supposed to be 1,007 meters tall (3,303.8 feet) but currently stands at 252 meters high, with the first 61 floors being already built. 

Timeline of the construction

August 2012: US based company, Landtech Design is awarded the design of the landscaping around the Kingdom Tower. They will be responsible for irrigating 8.5 acres (34,300 sq meters) of green space by utilizing the latest technology in sustainable irrigation.

September 2012: After 20 months of convincing investors, financing is finally ready for the Kingdom Tower project. Talal Al Maiman, CEO of Kingdom Real Estate Development Co. said in an interview in Shanghai that every detail about financing was discussed with investors and currently the project can move forward as there are no financial obstacles to it.

October 2012: German company Bauer was awarded the foundation work for the Kingdom Tower (now Jeddah Tower). Bauer will start working on the contract which is valued at 25,000,000 euro in December and work is estimated to last 10 months.

Bauer will build 270 bored piles of 1.5 – 1.8 meter in diameter and the depth of the foundation will be 110 meters. Two BG28 and two BG40 piling rigs will be employed during the work. You can further read about it on Bauer’s official site.

On the official press release from Bauer it is mentioned that the tower will have 1,001 meters. 

February 2013: On Thursday, February 21st, the Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) announced that the joint venture between EC Harris and Mace won the project management contract for the Kingdom Tower.

CEO of JEC, Waleed Abduljaleel Batterjee said that the reason Mace was hired is to use the same team that worked for The Shard in London. On the other hand, EC Harris has a long list of projects in the region including the Grand Millenium Al-Wahda Hotel, Abu Dhabi’s largest hotel complex.

May 2013: The national water company of Saudi Arabia signed a contract worth $587 million USD (2.2 billion rials) to supply water for the Jeddah Economic Company.

February 2014: The German company Bauer contracted to lay the foundation for the Kingdom Tower finished its work the company reports.

Thus 72 piles that were 1.5 meters in diameter were laid at a depth of 110 meters, another 154 piles at various depths and another 44 piles of 1.8 diameters were laid 50 meters deep.

February 2014: Lebanese firm, Advanced Construction Technology Services (ACTS) has been appointed for quality control works on the Kingdom Tower.

The company will be responsible for testing the half million cubic meters of concrete and the 80,000 tons of steel that will be required for the massive construction. Advanced Construction Technology Services will set up a laboratory on the site of the construction where over 100 professionals will be deployed.

The Lebanese company which was founded in 1996 has an extensive area of expertise and was also responsible for quality control at the construction of the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

June 2014: Finnish company Kone will provide elevators that can travel at speeds of over 10 meters per second for the Kingdom Tower.

“The building will be more than 1,000 metres and the elevator shaft will be 637 metres in one shot,” said Henrik Ehrnrooth, the president and CEO of Kone Corporation. “It will be the highest, longest, above ground, lift shaft in the world. There will be a double decker elevator which will be the fastest in the world to cover the near half-a-mile distance. There are faster elevators in the world which are not double decker, but the speed at which these will travel will be swift and comfortable. Your ears will be able to balance and that is the compromise.”

A total of 65 KONE elevators and escalators will serve the Kingdom Tower including 21 KONE Monospace elevators, 29 Minispace elevators, 7 DoubleDeck Minispace elevatrs and 8 KONE TravelMaster 110 escalators.

September 2014: World’s tallest crane is tasked to build the Jeddah Tower. The Jeddah Economic Company acquired six cranes to aid in building the massive structure. The cranes that are developed by German company Liebherr & WolffKran are built to withstand harsh meteorological conditions, especially winds.

The biggest crane is a custom Liebherr type 357 HC-L. It will be able to lift 18 tons of materials at a speed of 44 meters a minute.

December 2015: New funding is secured for the Jeddah Tower. The Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) has signed a deal with Alinma Investment for more funding to enable the construction of the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah.

Thus, a 2.23 billion USD fund has been established by the Kingdom Holding named Alinma Jeddah Economic City Fund.

Initially the tower was estimated to have a cost of 1.12 billion USD but this funding shows that initial estimations will be exceeded. At this point, 26 floors of the tower were already built totaling 85,000 square meters of built space.

Late 2017: Both the owner of the Kingdom Holding Co (owner of 33% of the tower) and the CEO of the Binladen Construction Group (owner of 17% of the tower) were arrested during the 2017 Saudi Arabian purge. While construction moved on for a few months, works were completely halted in 2018 and as of late 2022 there are no plans to restart it.

The tower is ⅓ finished currently and we still do not know when the first skyscraper will reach 1 kilometer in height.

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