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Saudi Arabia Constructing World's Tallest Building 225

Posted by timothy
from the perhaps-to-house-a-language-institute dept.
kkleiner writes "1,000 meters, or 3,280 feet. That's two-thirds of a mile. When the Kingdom Tower is built on the outskirts of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia it will not only become the tallest building in the world, it will shatter the old record. The total cost for the tower is approximately $1.2 billion. It features a Four Seasons hotel, Four Seasons serviced apartments, luxury condominiums, top class office space and the world's highest observatory."
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Saudi Arabia Constructing World's Tallest Building

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  • That's nearly twice as tall as the Burj Khalifa according to the graphic in TFA 8-(

    • by demonbug (309515)

      That's nearly twice as tall as the Burj Khalifa according to the graphic in TFA 8-(

      Nah, only about 500 feet (or 20%) taller.

    • by adonoman (624929)
      The graphic is showing the new tower at 1 mile, not one km. In that case it would be twice as tall.
    • In my opinion, there is something wrong when the west's best engineers and architects are designing structures in countries that train very few of their own engineers and architects. It seems to me an economic distortion that is a result of our oversized reliance on foreign oil. Our best and our brightest are often not working on building our own society. I am skeptical of the long term economic wisdom of our current system.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        As you said, this building is made from oil, and boy, Saudi Arabia sure is lucky to have lots of it. But wait a minute, US dominance was largely built on our own abundant natural resources in the first place, so how is it unfair that some faraway nation have a little slice of the earth for itself? I think a lot of what we attribute to our superior economic system, or work ethic, or diversity (or maybe we don't attribute it to anything, and simply take for granted that we are #1 and always will be) is actu
        • by catchblue22 (1004569) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @04:26PM (#36990304) Homepage

          I think a lot of what we attribute to our superior economic system, or work ethic, or diversity (or maybe we don't attribute it to anything, and simply take for granted that we are #1 and always will be) is actually very predictable based on the discovery of the world's largest stockpile of undeveloped natural resources in 1492. A new resource is discovered or developed, it is exploited resulting in growth, then it peters out. Look at how population growth within the US has shifted from California to Texas in the last decade. Some say it is mostly superior governance, I say it is mostly cheap land.

          I guess that explains Japan's economic success. Or Hong Kong's. Or Switzerland's. Or Taiwan's. Or Korea's. Yep. Land. I'm not sure I am fully able to explain America's economic success. But I think an hypothesis is forming for me about America's economic decline, that it is associated with an intellectual decline exemplified by half-baked economic ideologies indirectly referred to in the above comment.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            America's economic success in the 1800s and early 1900s was very different from Japan's economic success in the mid-to-late 1900s. We did it largely with natural resources, and later science and engineering talent, plus rebuilding Europe after two devastating wars. They did it with science and engineering talent and other intellectual pursuits.

            And yes, our decline is largely going to be associated with intellectual decline, along with a giant amount of corruption and bad governance. We still have some re

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by timeOday (582209)
            The question you should be asking is, why are Americans still so much better off than almost all of the nations you listed when they stomp us on every standardized test imaginable? You listed the surprising example of Japan, which peaked over 20 years ago! They're an intelligent, well-organized nation that seemed to have a miraculous economy for a decade or two until all the other Asian tigers started to catch up with them, because there was nothing about their industry that couldn't be replicated elsewhe
      • Of course, there is a high coloration between building bib buildings and economic crash. Think of it as the last gasp of optimism. Think Empire State building, World Trade Center, Malaysia 10 years ago, Dubai a few years ago

  • Interesting (Score:5, Funny)

    by tool462 (677306) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @02:32PM (#36988716)

    I assume they're building it on the site of the old Tower of Babel, as a memorial to those who lost their lives there some 6000 years ago...

    • I wonder if it's a bit of architect's humor that the Burj Khalifa's sections hint at a conical tower with a spiralled path on the outside like the traditional depictions of the Tower of Babel.

      • Well, that is the classic Ziggurath design that inspired the whole Tower of Babel story. Mostly useless, ritualistic mega-structures, the only use being the observatory post on top to watch the stars and determine the seasons - which could have been done with much less crap around it. I don't think the architect aimed at the Tower story as such, but rather cited the Ziggurath as classical structure of the region.
        • Ziggurats usually have terraced sides and a set of stairs (if anything) to get to the top, not the same thing as a spiral path, although they have kind of a similar look. The sections of the Burj Khalifa have offset heights like parts of a spiral path, and I can't think of any historical structure with a spiral path winding to the top.

          • Absolutely true about the details - but I was rather thinking of the impression. The same thing that made the GP think of Tower of Babel made me immediately think of Zigguraths, and I rather believe that this was what the architect wanted to evoke. But, in the end, that's only speculation - haven't heard any statement from him. Just seems more natural as source for an architectural citation.
      • by xclr8r (658786)
        The spiral path is to redirect wind force.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Yvan256 (722131)

      Merde! Je comprends pas ce que tool462 a écrit!

    • That was in Missouri...
    • by PRMan (959735)
      If you're referring to the Biblical account, nobody lost their lives. They just all started speaking different languages.
    • I get the humour, but the tower of Babel was supposed to have been located in Mesopotamia - i.e modern Iraq

  • by JTsyo (1338447) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @02:38PM (#36988804) Journal
    Is it just me or do these super high skyscrapers look out of place when the surrounding buildings are so small? It seems they are more concerned about the record than the overall skyline. I also wonder if western tourist would be well received there.
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @02:38PM (#36988806) Homepage

    When I first read that my first thought was that they would have telescopes up there. But all they mean is an observation deck. How disappointing.

    More seriously, TFA discusses how this is part of the attempt by Saudi Arabia to move away from having an economy run off of oil. So this will have hotels and offices inside. I'm not sure that this is the best thing to do to get off of such things given how many basic problems Saudi Arabia has and how many fairly cheap things could be done to improve the education and general productivity of most of the population.

    One thing that will be an obvious issue for such a large building is the exact layout and behavior of the elevator system. Some modern tall buildings have elevators that don't have simple up and down buttons but rather have a keypad where one punches in what floor one wants to go to and then the system optimizes which elevator to send to you rather than simply sending the next available elevator in that direction. This also allows elevators to travel at faster than the amount they can deaccelerate in a single floor. There's some non-trivial math involved in making such systems, and even making them slightly more efficient can have large scale payoffs simply due to the sheer number of people. As real-estate becomes more expensive and scarce throughout the planet, we're going to need to look more and more at how pre-existing very large buildings have handled these sorts of issues. So I'm happy that we have people like the Saudis doing this now long before we really need it.

    • Another big problem is the shear amount of space these mega sky scrapers make available. This single building will probably represent a 25% increase in the amount of lease-able business space in the downtown area, and it will of course come with a premium price point so that you can say you have offices in the tallest building in the world.

      Take a look at what happened to the Burj Khalifa, and how many of their spaces are sitting empty today because of a slump in their economy.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      When I first read that my first thought was that they would have telescopes up there. But all they mean is an observation deck. How disappointing.

      Yeah that didn't make much sense to me... It wouldn't even be close to the highest observatory, because those usually go on mountains which still beat the pants off our structures. And they also go as far from civilization as possible because of light pollution.

      Oh well. I still see no reason they couldn't put a reasonably big telescope on it!

      • by Unkyjar (1148699)

        The sway that you get at the top of a skyscraper would make telescopes impractical, they'd have to constantly compensate for variation in sway due to wind.

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          Oh, I see. Hey, maybe with the money they're throwing at it they can have such a compensation system. At least one good enough for a scope meant for tourists to look through! But yeah, seems pretty pointless. Why did they say "observatory" in the summary anyway?

    • by pz (113803)

      An office-mate of mine in graduate school had worked on a predictive elevator algorithm that is found in some larger office buildings. It tracks the temporal pattern of elevator calls and tried to optimize empty car direction (up, down) and idle placement, among other things. So, for example, at 9am, the optimal action for an empty car without a pending call is to go to the ground floor since it's highly likely the next call will come from people entering the building to head to their offices. Similarly,

      • Given a few minutes' worth of thought, I'm sure nearly anyone on Slashdot could come up with some very good ideas on optimizing not only empty direction and idle placement for a single car, but multiple cars as well.

        Shit, we can do it better. We can always do it better. That's why we're here.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      I'm not sure that this is the best thing to do to get off of such things given how many basic problems Saudi Arabia has and how many fairly cheap things could be done to improve the education and general productivity of most of the population.

      The last thing the Saudis want is an educated populace. This is about the super rich blowing their money for fun, they do not care about the general population one iota.

    • by MikeURL (890801)
      The best way to get off an oil driven economy is to build things that are completely dependent upon an oil driven economy. Brilliant.
    • You take a express elevator that stops only at the sky lobby's and then switch over to a local one (some of them have local stacked on top of each other so they don't need lot's of space for all the elevators) other places have banks of elevators that only go to one set of floors.

      The keypad system may be better for places where most of the elevators stop on all floors.

    • That's actually my biggest concern about these super tall structures. It seems like the more occupants you place in a single structure, the more you risk accidents that cause a need for evacuation (fire most obviously, but also such things as flooding from burst pipes or carelessness). If a far more efficient system of elevators isn't put together than what I normally see used, I'd worry about the safety of such buildings. I know we've got a pretty basic 22 story apartment building (former hotel) here in

  • We don't need a spec (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Whatsisname (891214) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @02:40PM (#36988832) Homepage

    From TFA:

    The final details of Kingdom Tower’s design are yet to be worked out, but construction is to begin immediately.

    We all know how well that impacts budgets and schedules for software projects!

    • You know that it's going to need one hell of a foundation, regardless of what the finials on the tippy top look like.

      • by pz (113803) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @03:16PM (#36989344) Journal

        That and there's going to be hectares upon hectares of land that need to be cleared, barracks and sundry support systems for the thousands of construction workers that need to be built along with access roads and materials staging areas. If the weight budget has been finalized, the geological surveys for the foundation and maybe even the excavation can begin.

    • by xclr8r (658786)
      Actually a slumped economy is the best time to negotiate construction contracts. I know of a few universities building like mad right now.
  • ...and that means extravagance should not be bounded, espeicailly in the oil-rich middle east (or Texas).
    http://guide.theemiratesnetwork.com/living/dubai/images/the_palm/palm_jumeirah.jpg [theemiratesnetwork.com]

  • So will anyone go there? If you like a drink, are female or gay, Christian or atheist is there any way you would go there unless you were forced to do so on business?

    And once the oil does run out the reasons for doing so become even more remote.

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Yeah, there's probably no Gideon Bible in the nightstand...
    • I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of drinking goes on in the hotel, since it's supposed to be posh. I'm told that in countries with strict laws about alcohol, the uber-rich drink a lot in "private," as a way of flaunting their wealth.

      • It could be worse. It could be like the cocaine other rich people do at private parties for the same reason. (quip about hookers' nethers here)
    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      Perhaps, given that there are over a billion Muslims in the world [wikipedia.org], they don't care what you think.

      • And now look at the map that you linked to. Note how most of those muslims are concentrated in poor parts of the world. There are a few super-rich (i.e. the ones that own the oil), who at least pretend to be muslims, but there aren't a large number that can afford a place like this.
  • Building a non-oil-based economy would require social and educational development, which in turn requires leadership, or in other words, insight and hard work by the ruling elites.

    However building the tallest phallic symbol just requires throwing money at immigrant workers, and in the long run will accomplish nothing much except an impressive symbol of wasted wealth. But it leaves more playtime for the rulers, and a clear sense of accomplishment ("look at that!")... as opposed to actually empowering thei
  • If you want an apartment in Dubai, the Burj Kalafia has space available. Rates start at about $20K/year for a hotel-room sized apartment.

  • The architect screams "Fuck! This wasn't the deepest well on Earth! It was a tower!"
  • . . . plenty of time to figure out how they are going to fly a plane into it. At that height, they might not need to do it themselves. Remember July 28, 1945 -- http://www.archive.org/details/Pa2107Empire [archive.org]. The risks of standing out in a crowd.
  • "Saudi Arabia Begins Construction of [what will be the] Worldâ(TM)s Tallest Building

    "The total cost for the tower is [estimated to be] $1.2 billion. It [will] feature a Four Seasons hotel, Four Seasons serviced apartments, luxury condominiums, top class office space and [what will be] the world's highest observatory."

    That said, I predict financial failure IF it ever gets built because (news flash) almost no one wants to visit Saudi Arabia and those who want to won't be able to afford staying in that bu

    • by Jiro (131519)

      Saudi Arabia has Mecca, which means every Muslim wants to visit it since they are required to go to Mecca once in their lifetime.

      It's sort of like the oil--it gives the Saudis a windfall which they can get just by being there without doing anything to improve their country.

  • I'm no expert on middle east politics, but there seems to be some amount of conflict over there. Saudi Arabia seems to be among the friendlier countries, but there's no guarantee that they won't be attacked by some radicals who think the Saudis aren't Muslim enough or something. Or maybe the Saudis will piss off the Israelis. However you spin it, this building could conceivable make a nice big target for some terrorists.

    So who would want to work there?

  • Now someone needs to make one with a volume of 3*3*3 KM

  • "Among investors is the Binladen Group, the Saudi construction giant owned by the family of Osama bin Laden."

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