The tower in the brain child of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a rich investor who holds stock in many of the world’s largest companies, including Citigroup (C) and News Corp. (NWS). His firm, Kingdom Holding, has signed a contract with construction firm Bin Laden Group to build the tower. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, headquartered in Chicago, will do the initial design work.
“Building this tower in Jeddah sends a financial and economic message that should not be ignored,” Prince Alwaleed said at a press conference Tuesday. “It has a political depth to it to tell the world that we Saudis invest in our country.”
Building Up Instead of Out
Nonetheless, the reasons for the project remain a wonder. The taller the building, the more difficult the task of shoring floors and buttressing walls. And there are certainly a number of ways to more easily supply similar square footage. Building three towers, each the height of theChryslerBuilding, would provide more office space than building one large tower. That makes the Saudi project something of a vanity.