Construction is set to begin on the soon-to-be-tallest building in the world: The Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, will stand 3,280 feet, and was designed byAdrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture of Chicago. It is part of the larger development, Kingdom City, and will be the first structure in the world to reach the one-kilometer-high mark (the original design was to be this tall, but the geology of the area was not suitable for that height).

The project comes with a (literally) high-minded pedigree: Adrian Smith designed Burj Khalifa while at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. And like the Burj Khalifa, the final height of the project is undisclosed. This recalls the height wars in New York City in the last century, when the top of the Chrysler Building was kept hidden until its final debut, in order to beat out the Manhattan Trust Building.

Height wars aside, we've gathered some top pieces of trivia that illustrate why the Kingdom Tower is truly awe-inspiring, and more than just a big building:


1. The tower will be home to the world's highest observatory. It will also have a separate, 98-foot-diameter outdoor balcony, which was originally intended to be a helipad.

2. The building is so big they are unable to show it realistically in one rendering. Only elevations and birds-eye views can contain the entire project. Imagine those construction drawings...


3. The foundation piles are about as large as a small room at 10 feet in diameter, and can reach up to 360 feet in length.


4. Its shape is functional. The narrowing silhouette has to fight wind as well as gravity, so the three-sided shard is designed to be aerodynamic. The taper also helps maximize usable/rentable area. It offsets the large core size on the lower floors by widening the base, while the shape also narrows the core overall, making it less space-consuming at the top.

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