The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is contemplating proposals for a two-kilometer-tall tower as part of an 18-square-kilometer master-planned development to the north of Riyadh.
The proposed structure will be more than twice as tall as the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which stands at 828 meters. According to contractors that have quoted megatall skyscrapers in the region, a structure of this height would cost around $5 billion to build, depending on the final design.
A design competition for the record-breaking tower is underway, with a $1 million participation fee, with up to 10 firms having been invited to take part. Some of the world’s finest architectural companies are involved, and they were chosen based on their previous work on other megatall structures and distinctive designs around the world. These include US-based practices Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architecture, and Gensler; 10Design, part of France’s Egis; and Dubai-based firm, Killa Design.
A design competition for the record-breaking tower is underway
EY undertook the feasibility study for the development, which is located west of the existing King Khalid International Airport. This tower is just one of several large projects planned for the city’s northern fringes.
Other tall buildings are planned throughout Saudi Arabia, and the scale of the towers underlines Riyadh’s confidence in delivering Vision 2030 objectives through a succession of self-styled giga-projects.
Saudi Arabia has previously designed tall skyscrapers. The PIF was exploring proposals for a 1.2km-tall tower in King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) on a property known as KAFD X. In 2019, consultants were working on project designs.
This tower is just one of several large projects planned for the city’s northern fringes
The 1,008-meter Jeddah Tower Scheme is another tall tower that has been envisioned. Construction on that began around 10 years ago and halted when the construction reached roughly 70 stories. Attempts to resurrect the project have failed because firms are unwilling to accept any obligations from contractors and consultants who previously worked on the scheme.
A supertall structure is one that is more than 300 meters tall, while a megatall building is one that is more than 600 meters tall, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). As stated by the CTBUH, there are currently 173 supertalls and only three megatalls completed worldwide.
According to the tall building database Emporis, only two completed structures in the Middle East are megatall: the Burj Khalifa and the 601-meter-tall Mecca clock tower.