Thought the Burj Khalifa was tall? You’d be right, it’s the tallest building in the world. Based in Dubai, measuring at 830m tall and costing $1.5bn to construct. It’s an impressive feat of human engineering that uses glass as it’s main facade feature. But it won’t be the tallest in the world for long. In 2018, the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah will take that crown.

Jeddah’s Kingdom Tower

This is what Saudi Arabia has planned:

Impressive isn’t it. Completion of the tower, which is already under construction, is due in 2018. Here are some of the mammoth stats worth knowing about this building:

  • Height: 3280ft/1km – the first building in the world to top out at 1km

  • Part of a $2.2bn project to create Jeddah City

  • Tower cost: $1.23bn

  • Floors: 200

Whilst these stats are obviously impressive, it’s the Kingdom Tower’s use of glass as it’s primary external building material which grabs me the most.

Skyscrapers over the past couple of decades have moved away from old fashioned concrete and steel structures, to buildings as you’ve seen in the video above that make the very most of glass as a building material. It’s glass that makes these buildings stand out from the drab. It makes the most of the light around it. It allows these buildings to shimmer when all around it doesn’t.

With modern-day glass technology, it also makes mega-structures like this easier to control climatically. I can’t find online the details around what glass products specifically are going to be used. Given that it’s coastal, it’s going to need to be a hard wearing glass. Would it be self-cleaning? Would there be a solar-control element?

However, just as the Kingdom Tower tops out at 1000m high, there is yet another mega-structure on the horizon which will mean that Jeddah’s tower will be the world’s tallest building for just a year.

The Bride of the Gulf

I urge you to watch this video:

That. Is. Immense.

This is the tower that is going to knock Jeddah’s tower off it’s perch after just a year, with completion due in 2019. But this isn’t going to just pip Jeddah’s to the post. This is going to top out at a whopping 1152m high. And looking at the artist’s impression video, the scale of the project is going to be vast, truly a city in the sky.

This is the future of skyscrapers. We can’t always spread out, but we can go up. I suspect it won’t be long before even the Bride of the Gulf is surpassed. And glass is going to play an ever increasing role in the structure of these buildings, both internally and externally.

Glass technology continues improve quickly, and glass will play an ever more important role in the construction of these buildings, along with having a bigger role within the ecosystem of the buildings, and how people use the buildings.

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