We could be one step closer to seeing architect, Frank Lloyd Wright’s dream of creating a mile high skyscraper become reality. A one kilometre tall building is to be built in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, at the request of the King’s nephew, Prince Al-waleed Bin Talal. The Kingdom Tower will overtake the current tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at a positively dwarf-like 828m in comparison.
The Kingdom Tower has been designed by American architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill who both hail from the city for which Lloyd Wright’s 1956 design (called The Illinois) was originally intended - Chicago. The building will take five years to build, contain a Four Seasons hotel, offices, apartments and 59 lifts and will cost around $1.2 billion to build.
Lloyd Wright’s mile-high design obviously never materialised, although the architect himself felt that the building would have been technically possible to create. People worried about the safety of a building so tall - what if there was a fire, how would they get out? There were also worries about how to dispose of water and waste.
There were concerns that the steel used to construct high buildings back then would be too flexible and cause the building to sway, although Lloyd Wright designed the structure in a tripod shape which, along with tensioning the steel frame, he believed would ensure stability.
The triangular structure of The Kingdom Tower seems inspired by Lloyd Wright’s original tripod design. Rather than steel, high-strength reinforced concrete will be used for the building’s construction. Thanks to innovations in the material during the early noughties its load-bearing properties are now much improved. It is thought the record breaking build will be completed in 2017.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Building the New Millennium