Kingdom and Emaar select Smith & Gill for world’s tallest building

17 March 2010

The US firm will design Kingdom Holding’s 1-kilometre tall Jeddah tower

Saudi investment firm Kingdom Holding has selected US-based Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architecture as the architect, and is asking contractors for revised prices for the construction contract for its 1-kilometre-high tower on the outskirts of Jeddah.

Smith & Gill has been selected after Kingdom shortlisted the US-based firm and the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) for the role at the end of last year. US-based architects Pickard Chilton, in partnership with UK-based Hyder Consulting, had also submitted a proposal for the scheme but dropped out of the contest in the middle of last year.

The region’s tallest buildings
ProjectLocationHeight (m)Status
Nakheel Harbour & TowerUAE1,200On hold
Jeddah Kingdom TowerSaudi Arabia1,000Tendering
Burj KhalifaUAE828Complete
Royal Clock Mecca TowerSaudi Arabia577Under construction
QNB HeadquartersQatar510Tendering
Source: MEED

According to sources close to the project, Smith & Gill has been selected for the design, but a formal contract has not yet been finalised.

With an architect on board, Kingdom Holding has asked contractors to submit revised prices for the contract to build the record-breaking tower.

Last year it received bids from South Korea’s Samsung Corporation with Dubai-based Arabtec Construction, the local El-Seif Engineering & Contracting and Belgium’s Six Construct, Australia’s Multiplex and the local Saudi Binladin Group (SBG).

Dubai-based Emaar Properties is managing the development of the tower for Kingdom Holdings. Emaar is also managing the entire 23-square-kilometre Jeddah Kingdom City, which will be built around Kingdom Tower.

If the tower goes ahead, it will replace Emaar’s Burj Khalifa in Dubai as the world’s tallest building.

The Burj Khalifa was designed by SOM before Adrian Smith left the firm to set up Smith & Gill. The tower was also built by three firms that are bidding for the contract to build the kilometre-tall tower. A joint venture of Samsung, Six Construct, and Arabtec was awarded the construction contract in late 2004.

Kingdom’s tower will also be more than 400 metres taller than Saudi Arabia’s tallest building, the 577-metre tall Makkah Clock Royal Tower, which will be finished in August this year. It is being built by another bidder for the Kingdom tower scheme, SBG. Construction on 70 of the hotel’s 76 storeys has now been completed (MEED 8:3:10).

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