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Introducing the World’s Tallest Building: Mile-High Tower in Saudi Arabia

by Joshua Dorkin on March 31, 2008 · 39 comments


Update 1/4/2010: The Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest skyscraper, opened today in Dubai, renamed as the Burj Khalifa, an impressive 828 meters, or 2717 feet, tall. While not a mile high, as initially speculated, the new tower is still 320 meters taller than the next tallest skyscraper, the Taipei 101 tower.

. . . and we thought the Freedom Tower was going to be tall . . .

mile-high-tower1.jpgIt is always fun to preview cool architectural achievements around the world! We’ve covered everything from the world’s smallest apartment to the coolest architectural projects in the middle east (includes the then proposed-tallest building in the world) to the world’s largest building (proposed in Moscow – slated to dwarf the Pentagon).

Once again, we’ve learned of a building that is slated to make the competition cry tears of inadequacy . . .

The Daily Mail reported today that Saudi Prince al-Walid bin Talal, one of the richest men on Earth, has unveiled plans to build a tower that will be 1 mile tall (5,280 feet) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – dubbed the Mile-High Tower.

mile-high-tower.jpgPhoto Courtesy of The Daily Mail

This building, expected to cost £5billion ($10 billion US), if completed, will be more than twice as tall as any planned or completed skyscraper on Earth . . . talk about ambitious!

“Experts say the technical challenges are enormous. Much of the lifting will be carried out by helicopters, which will also be used as commuter transport for builders. The tower will have to be capable of withstanding a wide range of temperatures, with its top baking in the desert sun by day but dropping to well below freezing at night. To resist the strong winds prevalent in the area and stop it swaying, giving its occupants a form of high-rise seasickness, it will be fitted with a giant computer-operated damper. “

Dramamine, anyone?

The Concept

In looking into the concept a bit more, I discovered some insight from “Exploring urban issues facing 21st century, The Mile High Tower offers a fresh perspective on an idea that has been debated by architects for a century”1 mile =1600 M . Exploding land values, growing populations and expanding economies are placing extraordinary burdens on many culturally rich, but land deprived Asian regions. In response to these pressures we have proposed a vertical city. In conceiving the tower as a vertical city, the design team has integrated technological, architectural and urban planning strategies into a single structure that breathes with urban complexity. The scale of the building and the scope of the program force the reevaluation of current skyscraper precedents for form, purpose, infrastructure, transportation, structure, and sustainability.”

Pay close attention to the rendering below. To the right of the tower stands a scale size Petronas Towers, one of the current leaders in tall construction . . . Petronas is dwarfed by the Saudi model!


Artist rendering below:

Mile-High Tower compared to other skyscrapers in the Middle-East:

What do you think? Would you work in the 300th floor?

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank March 31, 2008 at 4:00 pm

OMG! That thing is sick! Actually, I’d be sick if I were anywhere near the top of it. I guess the west is now officially in the second rung of skyscraper glory.


Joshua Dorkin March 31, 2008 at 4:12 pm

I wouldn’t stand a chance on the roof of this one either!


Rebecca King March 31, 2008 at 5:07 pm

I wonder how much steel and glass that thing is going to take? It’ll probably cause a run on all of the commodities and drive prices sky-high.


Beachbum March 31, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Who wants to tackle the window washing? That’s a looong drop in a bos’ns chair!


MoneyMan March 31, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Ever wonder where that money goes when you fill up your SUV? Actually that will be quite an achievement when it is built!!


Crystal Point April 1, 2008 at 8:58 am

I will believe it when it gets built….


Joshua Dorkin April 6, 2008 at 2:21 pm

I’m inclined to agree with you Crystal. The sheer amount of raw materials to build such a project would be immense, as would the engineering requirements. I’d love to see if man could accomplish such a feat, but I’m not sure that we’re there yet.


Nadine April 9, 2008 at 3:13 am

OMG, so tall…I won’t open my eyes to see the land when I am at the most top floor.


Junior August 8, 2010 at 7:54 am

Having lived in this part of the world, Nadine. I must say that, from that height, you wouldn’t see the ground through the dust!!


sid April 10, 2008 at 4:45 am

oh yeah! i’d take the job of washing the top floor windows if this is ever built!
can you imagine how much fun it’ll be to be that high overlooking everything… now i’m all excited about it. build it i say!


John April 28, 2008 at 9:40 am

Proposing a building is one thing.
Building it is quite another.

Anyone familiar with the Engineering challenges of building such tall buildings is not impressed:

I think this is just another case of

“I have a bigger one than you!” gone beserk when a billionaire decides to play.

Watch the 500% cost overruns and GOOD LUCK!


ana isom May 8, 2008 at 7:43 am

I would probably pee on myself if i went up that high. when I get up there I wouldn’t even be able to look out the window with out getting sick. That is scarry to think about that thing falling. It would kill soo many people.


hassan May 19, 2008 at 9:52 am

it can be easily done. if it couldnt, it wudnt be proposed.


Marvin November 18, 2008 at 5:58 pm

I propose world peace


ian May 28, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Does this mean that we would be able to join the Mile High Club without even getting into a plane?


zahin shardar khan June 24, 2008 at 11:11 pm

i dont think they could build any more taller skyscrapper than the burj dubai untill the next 20yrs


Mike July 10, 2008 at 1:14 pm

this can be definitely be accomplished. The building may not be practical, since the elevators would make up a large part of it, but it is still mad cool.


lamia July 26, 2008 at 2:13 am
dani August 5, 2008 at 2:16 am

i tell why peaple trying to do high towers, it is not about (i have the biggest one) the idea is the u r useing the same land to build ur house on and stay saying morgage and bills and all kind of insurances while u can build a tower and it will get u and income between renting the offices and investment all over ther world in the tower up to 10 billion USD a year, so u tell me which one would like to build?


nielz August 18, 2012 at 11:56 pm

actually i think it is about “i have A Taller one”, Its about pride and and honor, (the tower will be owned by the government, they really doesn’t care about land price, tax, etc..) If You have the tallest tower, you will have additional tourist, additional tourist means additional income (not that they need one), plus, you will have the Honor of the title… “Tallest”


St. George commercial real estate August 20, 2008 at 9:17 am

Now that looks like a job for Tower Dogs. That is some good commercial property.


majed October 23, 2008 at 3:54 am

Well as u can see in dubia they made this huge island with houses init foem the sea ^^ it’s not impossible to build a huge tower and as u know KSA is one of the rices countrys and first in proudoce fossil oil so it’s not hard to get the other *steel and glass* i would love to stand on the roof well be amazing to see how things are sooo small >.< Can’t wait til this thing finshes it well be (amazing awsome brillent) all in one lol :)


majed October 23, 2008 at 3:55 am

lol i meant richest*****


Y2J IS WAHI October 31, 2008 at 12:59 pm



james November 14, 2008 at 7:46 am

The saudis are building this to attract attension and i think this does the job saudi is a very much closed country living in the past it is trying to attract buisness but at the same time keep its strict islamic laws if this went through (which i personally doubt) it would not only cost billions but take decades because of the new structural improvements and breakthroughs that would have to be made i myself live in dhahran a city on saudis east coast which is where alot of towers have been poping up lately but nothing above 50 or so stories besides the soil test that were carried out a few weeks ago came back saying the proposed site could only sopport a smaller structure less than 1 km and there are plans currently in place talking of reducing the height to 1 km if a site is not found soon or quickly so in truth this is a decade or two early for its time shame i would have sighed up as window cleaner (but by then it will probably be a robot)


Amir Yahya BIn Al Saud August 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Peace and blessings be upon us all,

Jeddah will join the mile high club of super sky structures (SSS), incidentally, the structure will be near our modest airport, which alone is equal to the city area of Pairs. This SSS will be a consent reminder to our people of what foreigners can do and fetch with our money. European design, Indian engineering, South African sub contractors, and Sub-Continent assemblers. Unfortunately with such an ambitious project, safety mishaps will occur and I do not look forward to reading about how a young worker committed suicide by jumping from a work station. Where in fact, he was not provided adequate fall protection and simply may have been exhausted and slipped. Though, I would look forward to working in this structure: I enjoy viewing aircraft land and this will prove an excellent vista.

Allah knows best-
Most humble,
HRH Amir Yahya


fernando September 26, 2009 at 11:02 am

Being a civil engineer this is a challenging structural,soil foundation etc.task.It will be interseting to know who is the consulting and contractor firms.


shaf October 2, 2009 at 4:47 am

im going to jump of that from a bungi jump


MAMON December 20, 2009 at 8:23 pm

this is waste of resources, waste of money, waste of artistic values, waste of artistic conceptual design. why did the west build tall buildings arabs???? beacuse the couldn’t advance horzionatlly and so in big cities like chicago and new york the only way possible to slove the problem of lack of land and growing population is by advancing vertically?? thats a problem-solving design, a problem solving architecture, what dose your propsed and built tall buildings solve???


PX41-000 January 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm

It’s great to see humans building such beautiful structures.. the only problem is when you build structures so tall or so massive it could collapse with the slightest earthquake and DUBAI is not prone to earthquakes also NEW YORK.. any bigger and it will collapse.. you see buildings that are closer to the ground have more weight and stay mostly in place in an earthquake tall buildings sway back and forth and could snap in half or fall in to it self and panes of glass could hurt/kill many people.. build with caution and not with ego good luck to you… LOVE AND PEACE !



Werdna February 18, 2010 at 3:29 am

As mentioned above, talking and proposing is different to actually doing it.
If it is run by locals, forget about it it will never take off.

Why Jeddah?

But in the end it is a great idea, just like the “world dubai”, and “Palm Jebal Ali”.


Greg April 12, 2011 at 6:24 am

I guess because of the price of fuel they are trying to climb stairs into space.


Paul April 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm

i wouldnt mind working on the 300th floor… not to worry, they send all their citizens to the US to destroy tall buildings and kill people!


Gareth Williams April 14, 2011 at 11:21 am

Sod getting a lift to the top floor! Would take a few hours to get up to the top! Moving in would take weeks!!! Lol


G. W. Allegretti May 24, 2011 at 10:59 am

Many decades ago, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright offered a design proposal for “The Illinois Tower,” a mile-high skyscraper. Engineers determined that such a structure could indeed be built and could even withstand seismic forces. What makes such a building not feasable was the requirement to move poeple in and out every day. The cross-sectional area of the elevators leaves so little leasable area on each floor that the economic returen does not support the expense.


blue August 5, 2011 at 5:30 am

Never going to take-off, its just a dream, Dubai had all the supporting infrastructure to place the tower at its center of attention, Saudi will keep a tower in the middle of not so impressive land?and no one will visit saudi just for the tower, end of the day its harsh islamic ancient laws will not allow modern free world life style, whats the need for a tower then? build a mosque that will atleast serve its purpose! saudi’s hate emiratis because emiratis means progress, saudi is richest but whats the use? how many want to live in saudi? very few (only saudi’s) the success of Dubai and UAE is opening its door to the free world. Long live UAE and emiratis! they future has a place for them.


Adil Faiyaz June 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

The end is near. I doubt its completion. -P


Justin Piper September 30, 2012 at 11:52 am

I don’t understand why someone wants to make a mile high building? What if there was a devastating event that happened on the (i.e.) 105th/300th floor, and people need to evacuate the building, or what if an earthquake happened that shook the buildings foundation? What about the people who have terrible breathing conditions, and their office/apartment is 3000 feet up in the air? As a 16 year old, I give thought to things, and as a person who plans on creating America’s tallest building, I say that this idea can be very hazardous to those who live, work, and consume in that building. It is a beautiful, amazing idea to create the world’s tallest building that high, yes. But the thought of it’s negative factors can be very scary.


Harshal June 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm

This is just a joke! Man has not invented any material yet that has enough modulus of elasticity to support a so-called “mile-high” tower! Iff top would be “baking” and “freezing”, do you think it will be a stable structure?? C’mon! Give me a break!!!


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