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.

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