Thornton Tomasetti, the international engineering firm, has been selected as structural engineer for Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which when completed will be the world’s tallest building at over 1,000 meters. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.
The structure will be the centerpiece of Kingdom City, a new urban development of more than 23 million square meters. With a total construction area of 530,000 square meters, Kingdom Tower will be a mixed-use building featuring a luxury hotel, office space, serviced apartments, condominiums and an observation deck higher than the current world’s highest.
Selected to serve as structural engineer to the design architect, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, which is leading the interdisciplinary design team on the project, Thornton Tomasetti was also the structural engineer for three of the world’s top 10 tallest buildings, including Petronas Towers, Taipei 101 and Shanghai Tower, which is under construction.
“The design of this distinctive tower incorporates the latest in structural engineering, construction strategies, and building materials for a constructable, cost-efficient project,” said Robert Sinn, principal of Thornton Tomasetti.
The tapered shape of Kingdom Tower gives it an advantage over stepped towers in dealing with wind forces, said the firm. Both stepped and tapering forms have proved beneficial in reducing the overall wind forces on tall buildings, but the linear taper of the tower surface does a better job of disrupting the wind, mitigating vortices that develop around tall buildings.
Kingdom Tower has the additional advantage of being asymmetrical. Each of its three wings travels upward with a slightly different geometry and terminates at a different height from the other two, all of which further reduces effective wind forces by preventing vortexes from organizing around the building.
When wind hits the building, the modulations of cross-sectional area in the tapering form disrupt the resulting wind vortexes and force them to spin off at different frequencies. The result is a significant reduction of movement in the tower due to wind forces, in comparison to a prismatic tower form.
The project will feature a high-performance exterior wall system that will minimize energy consumption by reducing thermal loads. In addition, each of Kingdom Tower’s three sides features a series of notches that create pockets of shadow that shield areas of the building from the sun and provide outdoor terraces with stunning views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.
Jeddah Economic Company formed in 2009 to develop Kingdom City. Dubai-based Emaar Properties, developer of Dubai’s 828-meter-tall Burj Khalifa, now the world’s tallest building, is providing development services. Kingdom Tower’s height will be at least 173 meters taller than Burj Khalifa. Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) is the contractor.
Rendering © Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.