Magic Monday — A Skyscraper Taller than the Burj Khalifa

Yes, you read that right. Kingdom Tower, under construction in Kingdom City, is expected to rise 3,304 feet upon completion in 2017. That’s a full 582 feet higher than the tip of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s current tallest building. Basically, it’s like adding the height of another (smaller) skyscraper on top of the Burj.

To put it simply — This building is nearly 2/3 of a mile high.

So, why does this matter? Because skyscrapers this tall signal the start of a new era — the “megatall” era. That means any building taller than 2,000 feet. Right now, there are only 2 buildings in the world that can call themselves megatall. Not even One World Trade Center can claim that status.

These are an entirely new class of skyscrapers.

Surprisingly, this building can be built using readily available construction techniques. While “easy” might not be the right word to describe its construction, Kingdom Tower is very feasible with current concrete tech. Bob Sinn, Principal Practice Leader at Thornton Tomasetti, said “Kingdom Tower is certainly feasible. It’s not a structural challenge.”

There is some significant debate about the economic consequences of building these monstrosities — when it’s finished Kingdom Tower will have 167 floors and more than twice as much usable floor space as the Empire State Building. Will there be enough tenants in Saudi Arabia to fill all that space? Only time will tell.

Can we expect to see mile-high skyscrapers any time soon? Probably not. In the next 100 years? I sure hope so!

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