March 26, 2008

Billionaire plans mile high building

Above profiles of buildings up to 1200 meters. A 1600 meter or one mile building would be 33% taller than a 1200 meter Al Burj, tallest planned building with decent funding and it may end up shorter at 1000 meters.

UPDATE: The Burj al Meel mile high building project is still active and is proceeding to awarding the design contract.

How the bailout of Citigroup kept the Burj Al Meel skyscraper project on track


Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud moves forward with plans to build the world's tallest building, the biggest challenge facing the Saudi billionaire appears to be keeping people from feeling seasick a mile up in the sky.

In terms of billionaire skyscraper ego or phallic symbol, Donald Trump is coming many times shorter. Trump Tower is 58 stories and 202 meters tall. The soon to be completed Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago will be 415 meters tall and 92 stories. Donald Trumps tallest building will be about four times shorter than Prince Alwaleed's mile high building (when Alwaleed completes his building and assuming that Donald cannot get a taller building put together in the mean time.

The Middle East Economic Digest reports that Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Co. will soon invite bids by contractors to build a mile-tall mega-skyscraper in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, taller than four Empire State Buildings stacked upon each other. Kingdom Holding is budgeting $10 billion for the tower.

"Structural engineering-wise, it's not even difficult," said Ron Klemencic, president of Magnusson Klemencic Associates, an engineering company specializing in high-rise constructions. He explained that stronger concrete and steel and advancements in designing building frames allow for the safe development of mega-skyscrapers.

Called the Burj Al-Meel or the Mile-High Tower, it will be located on the northern side of the Obhur Creek and the Red Sea. It will be spread over an area of more than two million square meters.

I had previously covered many other skyscraper projects in the 700-1200 meter range. One mile high is 1600 meters. The Burj Al-meel would be the tallest building with anything like decent funding and budget.

Technological challenges
Elevators: The world's fastest ascend at a blazing 1,010 meters per minute. A ride to the top of a mile-high building in one of them could clock in at less than two minutes. The technology could improve even more in the next decade. Klemencic points to prototype elevators that use electromagnets instead of traditional cables. They offer the huge advantage of allowing multiple elevators in a single shaft.

Seasick on the top floors: The world's tallest completed tower, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan, addressed the problem by hanging a 730-ton pendulum at the top of the building. The giant ball swings in the opposite direction of the upper floors to keep them steady. At three times the height of the Taipei 101, however, a mile-high tower must withstand even fiercer gusts.

Better steel, concrete and safety systems for the mega high rises of the future.

Alwaheed according to the latest Forbes list is worth $21 billion and is the world's 19th richest man.

Dubai current and future megaprojects.


Anonymous said...

What a grotesque waste of money and resources. It's obscence in the face of the poverty and suffering of the region.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Alwaleed's second investment choice was going to be aid to the poor.

Although the mile high building is suppposed to part of a larger development to provide schools, housing, hotels, and retail and office space to the area. So jobs, schools and hospitals.

Anonymous said...

another egoistic king

Anonymous said...

Target rich environment for the Iranians.

Anonymous said...

your tax dollars at work

Anonymous said...

All those people talking negative of this project are just HATERS!!!
Build to your hearts delight baby!
But from a economical point of view what is the point of building such a tall building?
Why not build a bunch of say 50 or 75 story buildings?
Why spend $10,000,000,000 (thats $10 Billion) for one building?
Im sure something thats have as tall will be only 25% of the price.
This is a great building for the publicity but who will be able to afford the rent????
In Los Angeles 1 square foot of prime office space is like $3 to $5 per square foot.
But for a $10 Billion dollar building how much will they have to charge?

Anonymous said...

The first one is almost finished.
See photos here .

Anonymous said...

The tall buildings to compensate for other shortfalls, haha.

Anonymous said...

This is not 'tax dollars at work' as one commentator has said but simply US Gas dollars at work. Over the coming decades we are going to see a massive transfer of wealth out of the US economy and into the Infrastructure of Net Oil Exporters. Here in Europe we DO tax Gas rather heavily and put the proceeds to work locally -building bridges that don't fall down for example.
The general good of a fair level of 'Taxation' is too hard a concept for the average US citizen to grasp, you would rather spend the extra saved on plastic Chinese toys.

Painlord2k said...

This project is, probably, a type of "public project" aimed to reduce the lack of jobs (first) and show the power of the Saudis (second). Other good reason to develop this monster (in a good way) is that the place lack of a proper network of water, sewage, power, streets, etc. So, it is easier to build a big skyscraper, that build many normal skyscrapers and build a proper grid, the many streets, the many networks of tubes for water, and so on.

bw said...

the building is part of a larger development with other buildings.
to go that high has some economic reasons, but also is an ego and branding thing. The cache of the tallest building. Petronas towers provided some national pride to Malaysia as does Taipei 101 for Taiwan.

Tall buildings that were never the tallest. It is tough to name them. Even a complex of tall buildings.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how long it will take the earth firsters to take this thing down?

Or more likely, how long will it take the US to invent a reason to go over and destroy it like Iraq?

Anonymous said...

It's apparent that this guy is suffering from LDS (little dick syndrome).

Anonymous said...

Ya this is the same "Saudi Prince" who started out with a bunch of someone else's money. He was worth over 10 Billion 10 yeras ago. Now only a fraction of that oops - guess I shouldn't have bought so much CitiBank Stock.
Anyway, I don't think he's floated his artists concept past any Architects or Engineers cause you can't go above about 60 floors without teiring the stucture. The footprint will be way too haevy and the structure would collapse. If this is not a joke it's just stupid.

Anonymous said...

annother tower of Babel , just to boost the pride to be the highest, What an illusion and for so much waste of energy in the form of money and labor,and how long will it stay on the planet if it is ever built,why not try to elevate youself/ourselves spiritually instead of wasting our human energy and brain in stupid,temporary dreams just for show to prove we are the most technologically advanced beeings on earth (maybe truth externally but inside it shows that our human dignity is already demolished).

bw said...

Alwaleed is still worth $21 billion according to Forbes latest list 19th richest man. His investment in citibank in the 1990's paid off big for him. He has invested in them again. Even if the citibank stock is down Alwaleed could be doing fine it depends upon the terms of the investment.

Anonymous said...

Improve the conditions of the poor workers building those tall buildings.

Anonymous said...

What a marvel of human ingenuity and creativity. Those who mock it are the same who surely despise themselves, perhaps for their own misunderstood "shortcomings." What is truly grotesque and obscene is a gluttonous American with his greasy fingers all over the keyboard, spilling soda and fries everywhere, while his heater, refrigerator, ice maker, oven, cable-HDTV flat panel and, popcorn machine run all night. And he still whines.! Build the structure. Build more. Employ people. House people. Grow economies. Accommodate a growing population. Face reality, selfish piggy-pig pig. Go skyscraper go!

Anonymous said...

A 10 Billion dollar, mile high building. It's a truly fascinating idea, and an architectural tour de force if it can be built. It's also an enormous capital risk. The reason you would build this grandiose is to attract sky high rents, this building would have world wide stature if built (it's why you wouldn't build a bunch of 20 story buildings instead of this ). With a building that tall, you could probably choose to power it with it's own windmills near the top of the building, it would become a city unto itself. Los Angeles is not a major business center (it is a center for entertainment and industry). Dubai has a stock exchange now, and the people running that exchange can think about building their city without the century old infrastructures of New York or London. These jobs aren't to hire locals, a huge number of the workers are foreign. Only roughly 6% of Dubai's wealth comes from oil, most of it comes from trade, manufacturing, and financial services. In terms of a waste of money and resources, the trillions of dollars the US spends in a decade on it's non-defense military (I'm calling non US based military in say Okinawa or Ramstein Germany non-defense to be clear), with it's growing homeless population (poverty and suffering) seems like it could be considered a much bigger waste. I don't see that "elevating ourselves spiritually" is necessarily antagonistic to building tall buildings (the denser the human population the more room their is for nature, maybe every 10th floor is a church).

As for the unfavorable view of (US)Americans here, I think that despite some real problems, the US leads still (perhaps for not much longer) the world in science, and in economic opportunity. We have most of the worlds billionaires (we are not a land of perfect opportunity, but we are still a land of opportunity). We have had what I consider a grotesquely under qualified chief executive for the past 7+ years, and he has caused tremendous damage to our nations spirit. I have no doubt that we have learned our lesson (at least for a little while) and will do better for the next 8 years.

Anthonie van vliet said...

If this breathtaking project is to be realized it's a triumph in engineering architecture and sheer beauty. Such a mega-skyscraper would be a gift to all mankind, this tower belongs to all of us, therefore I propose it to become a world-center of peace, a place of concord and harmony. It should be a place of optimism and positive thinking. I hope and pray this fantastic project will come true, despite the economic downturn worldwide. We have the technology, let's do it!

Besides this, this super-tower might be the beginning of an eco-solution for urban city-life. Horizontal building is very inefficent, destroys the environment, (we all are too familiar with the traffic congestions, pollution, and other terrible problems of our flat 2 dimensional cities..) so the only solution for sustainable city-growth is to go vertical. People will live in fantastic appartments, above the clouds, while these mega-towers can be surrounded by forests and beautiful nature. The old-fashioned way of city-building -low-rise- causes environmental destruction on collosal scale. This is no longer acceptable when we think of the future of our children.. We cannot continue the horizontal way, so we MUST go vertical..

Technical problems of stifness at the top, tensile and pressure strength are resolved already. The only thing that fails is the COURAGE to build new iconic marves. Why could the Egypt people build miracles and we cannot? So let's do it, make this tower comes true, make it a beacon of hope, a tower of beauty, imagination and environmental awareness.

May Sir Alwaweed succeed in this awe-inspiring fantastic enterprise!

Anthonie van Vliet, Netherlands