Thinking Tech

World's tallest building is high tech

Posting in Architecture

Kingdom Tower, a more than 3,280-foot structure will eclipse Dubai's Burj Khalifa as the world's tallest building.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has just announced plans to build the Kingdom Tower, a more than 3,280-foot structure that will eclipse Dubai's Burj Khalifa as the world's tallest building.

With an investment of 1.23 billion dollars and stretching two-thirds of a mile high, the skyscraper will serve as the flagship of a $20 billion development project known as Kingdom City. By the time it's completed in 2013, the tower will feature a Four Seasons hotel, apartments, Class A office space, luxury condominiums and the world's highest observatory. The designers, Chicago-based architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, says development is already underway at a site just outside Jeddah, a city located near the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia.

For the sake of comparison, Burj Khalifa, the current record-holder, is shorter by nearly 600 feet. And it's already more than twice the height of America's tallest structure, the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago, which stands at 1,451 feet.

Beyond the tower's impressive size is a design that features a host of smart technological advancements. For instance, the building's tapered wings allow for an aerodynamic shape that reduce structural loading due to wind vortex shedding. And a high-performance exterior wall system minimizes energy consumption by reducing thermal loads.

Here are a few other notable innovations:

  • Each of Kingdom Tower's three sides features a series of notches that create pockets of shade to shield areas of the building from the sun while providing outdoor terraces with stunning views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.
  • A sleek, streamlined design that was inspired by the "folded fronds of young desert plant growth
  • 59 elevators, 12 escalators and a 98-foot sky terrace at level 157 that's available for penthouse occupants

Image: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

(via Press release)

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure