The First Image of the World's New Tallest Building

This is the first image of what's going to become the tallest building in the world by the end of the decade: The 3,280-foot (one kilometer!) Kingdom Tower. It will dwarf the 2,717-foot (828-meter) Burj Khalifa. Take a look.

Until now, there was only one blurry generic sketch. This image is an actual rendering of the finished tower. According to Chicago's Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the building's designers, construction will begin imminently. The foundation plans are now complete and "the piling for the tower is currently being tendered" in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, near the Red Sea.

Mindblowing statistics

The Kingdom Tower's numbers are impressive. The building itself will take a staggering $1.2 billion to build, "while the cost of the entire Kingdom City project is anticipated to be $20 billion," said AS+GG. The massive 3,280-foot spire will house a 5.7 million square feet (530,000 square meters) space and will beat the Burj by "at least 568 feet" (173 meter). It will have a Four Seasons hotel, a Four Seasons apartment area, office space, luxury condos and the world's highest observatory.

The First Image of the World's New Tallest Building

Click image to expand.

There will be 59 elevators, 54 single-deck and five double-deck, along with 12 escalator distributed through the Kingdom Tower. The elevators going up to the observatory deck will travel at 10 meters per second. That's 22.3 miles per hour. It will take you one minute and forty seconds to reach the top of the tower.

There's even an outdoor space at the top of the spire which will be used by the penthouse floor at level 157. You can see it sticking out in the rendering, 98 feet (30 meters) in diameter.

While it will still not reach Frank Lloyd Wright's never-built dream of the Mile High Illinois, its hard-edged, sightly asymmetrical design reminds me more of Wright's sketches than the rounded Burj Khalifa ever did.