The Burj Khalifa Designers Are Making the World's Tallest Skyscraper—Again

Saudi Arabia seeks to oust Dubai's record-holding tower with the grandiosely-named Kingdom Tower.

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Nov 30 2015, 4:10pm

Images courtesy Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architects

"I'm not in competition with anybody but myself. My goal is to beat my last performance," is a very inspirational quote attributed to Canadian pop star Celine Dion, but the idea might as well have come from Chicago architecture firm Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill. They designed the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, in 2010, but it's just been confirmed that they'll surpass their own record-breaking feat with an even taller building, to be completed in Saudi Arabia by 2018. Dubbed the Jeddah Tower, or, the Kingdom Tower, the latest from Smith and Gill will rise at least 3,280'—a full kilometer—into the air. Today the Jeddah Economic Company announced that the $2.2 billion price tag projected for Jeddah City has been gathered, in which the Jeddah Tower will be the crowning architectural achievement.

Smith and Gill follow the same design logic they did for the Burj Khalifa, according to The Guardian, "down to the surrounding moat and towers—only bigger." The Kingdom Tower will be the a crest in a wave of architectural one-upsmanship that either represents awesome feats of engineering and ingenuity or a blight upon urban areas, depending on who you ask. More than that, these kinds of superstructures in the Middle East often rely upon the documented abuse of migrant workers. Renowned architect Zaha Hadid has taken flak for designing the similarly dazzling World Cup arena in Qatar.

The Jeddah Tower has not yet been involved in any abuse cases, but Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says, "now we are on the verge of building a floor every four days," Al Jazeera reports. The breakneck pace still leaves plenty of time to complete the 170-storey ode to Gulf Futurism, which has reportedly reached it's 26th floor as of this article.

Keep up to date on the Jeddah Tower on the Jeddah Economic Company website. See more from Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architects on their website.

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