Saudi Arabia 'plans' 2km long world’s tallest tower, more than double the size of Burj Khalifa

A close-door "design competition" with selected global construction companies is underway.
Baba Tamim
Panoramic view of the Dubai city skyline with Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at the center.
Panoramic view of the Dubai city skyline with Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at the center.

dblight/iStock 

Saudi Arabia may be weighing in on plans for a 2-kilometer-tall, world's tallest tower, for its 18-square-kilometer master-planned area in the capital city of Riyadh. 

The proposed skyscraper will be more than twice as tall as Dubai's Burj Khalifa, which stands at 828 meters and is currently the tallest building in the world, according to a report published by Middle East business intelligence (MEED) magazine on Wednesday. 

"Contractors that have priced megatall towers in the region say that depending on the final design, a 2km-tall structure could cost about $5bn to construct," said the report.

"A design competition with a participation fee of $1m is underway for the record-breaking tower," as per MEED's sources. 

As per the sources, roughly eight companies have been asked to compete. 

Some of the top architectural companies in the world are collaborating, and they were chosen for the project based on their previous work on iconic structures and megatall towers around the globe.

US-based companies Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architecture, Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), and Gensler are among the probable participants. 

France's Egis and Dubai-based Killa Design are also competing for the bid. 

The projected tall tower in Riyadh is just one of many influential projects slated for the city's northern peripheries, west of the existing King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. 

The feasibility assessment for the development was carried out by EY, a global consultant, which falls under the masterplan of the Kingdom, stated the report. 

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The master-planned airport - 2030 

A master proposal for an airport expansion was unveiled on November 28.

If it is finished on schedule in 2030, it will be called King Salman International airport and will have the highest passenger capacity in the entire world. 

Six parallel runways can be built on its about 57 square kilometer surface, which also includes the King Khalid International airport's current terminals.

The plan is to be adorned with the intended 2km tower. 

There are plans for further towering buildings in the country, reflecting Riyadh's willingness to carry out the goals outlined in Vision 2030 through a number of so-called gigaprojects.

The Line - Neom

The first modules of the 170km-long The Line or Neom constructed structures in Tabuk Province, northwest Saudi Arabia, are 500 meters tall. 

Other buildings, like the two hotel towers for the Gas Station Hotel near the Gulf of Aqaba, are anticipated to reach a height of 500 meters.

Tall skyscrapers have previously been attempted in Saudi Arabia. In the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), on a property known as KAFD X, PIF was examining proposals for a tower that might reach a height of 1.2 kilometers. In 2019, consultants were creating drawings for the project.

The 1,008-meter Jeddah Tower Scheme is another substantial tower slated for Saudi Arabia. About ten years ago, work on the tower's construction got started, but it eventually came to a standstill after it reached about 70 stories.

Since businesses are hesitant to assume any obligations from contractors and consultants who had previously worked on the scheme, attempts to resuscitate the project have not been successful.

The 601-meter ultra-tall skyscraper known as the Abraj Al Bait Royal Clock Tower is currently the Kingdom's tallest structure and is located in the Holy city of Mecca. 

Meanwhile, PIF, which holds assets worth $620 billion, is yet to make any announcements on the construction of this radical, tallest structure in the world.