Above-ground work on the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects, is due to start next Sunday.
The world’s largest construction firm, Saudi Binladin Group is set to start building the long-awaited 1 kilometre-tall tower on April 27 after months of testing.
When the project was launched Smith spoke about his influences for the design: “What struck us is that Saudi Arabia is trying to open itself up to more business and more opportunity.
“So we thought about the fact that this is a new vision for Saudi Arabia and the idea of newness struck us. We thought about how the palm tree, when it’s just starting out as a plant, it will grow to a point and then the prongs will separate. The building is not a replication of that but the idea influenced us.”
Preparatory work on the $1.2bn tower officially started last April after Kingdom Holding, the developer controlled by Prince Al Waleed, appointed the contractors Mace and EC Harris to work on the project.
In February, SBL appointed Advanced Construction Technology Services (Acts) to carry out high-level tests on a half-million cubic metres of concrete and about 80,000 tonnes of steel set to be used in the building.
The tower would overtake the 828-metre Burj Khalifa in Dubai as the world’s tallest building when it is expected to be completed in 2018. Kingdom Tower is the centrepiece of the planned Kingdom City urban centre along the Red Sea coast, which will comprise homes, shops, hotels and schools located around a series of lakes and canals.