The Saudi Shard: Skyscraper modelled on British design set to be world's largest – at ONE KILOMETRE highLondon-based Mace won 780m deal to build the Kingdom TowerWill stand 1km tall but designers have not revealed exact scaleWill be four times bigger than western Europe's tallest building

Mario Ledwith


06:22 GMT, 22 February 2013



09:57 GMT, 22 February 2013

The British company that built the Shard has landed a contract to manage the construction of what will become the world's largest building – and plans reveal the two look remarkably similar.

London-based Mace won the 780million deal to build the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which will stand more than 3,280ft (1km) high.

The Shard is currently western Europe's tallest building, while the company also played a role in several of London's most recognisable landmarks, such as the London Eye.


Kingdom Tower


Similar: London-based Mace, who built the Shard (right) won the 780million deal to build the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which will stand more than 3,280ft (1km) high (left)

Mace will participate in a joint venture with fellow British firm EC Harris to create the huge building, which has been given a completion date of 2018.

The Kingdom Tower, which will have a construction area of more than 5,381,955 square feet (500,000 sq m), will stand at four times the size of the Shard.

It will overlook the Red Sea and is expected to take over from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which standing at an incredible 2,717ft (828m), as the world's tallest skyscraper.

It is not yet known how tall the skyscraper will be, as developers keep exact details of the plan a secret.

The development, unveiled by billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, are part of a 13billion redevelopment of the Kingdom City, north of Jeddah.

Soon to be overshadowed: At 1,016 ft high, the Shard is currently western Europe's tallest building

Soon to be overshadowed: At 1,016 ft high, the Shard is currently western Europe's tallest building

The plans have been designed by American firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

When the design was originally unveiled in August 2011, it was said the tower will have a three-petal footprint and tapering wings to produce an aerodynamic shape that will help reduce structural loading due to wind vortex shedding.

Each of its three sides features a
series of notches that create pockets of shadow to shield areas of the
building from the sun and provide outdoor terraces with stunning views
of Jeddah and the Red Sea.

It will contain 59 elevators, with
the quickest travelling at a rate of 10 metres per second, and have a
five-star Four Seasons hotel.

The sprawling mega project, first
announced in 2008, will cover two square miles at its base, and will
also include serviced apartments, luxury flats and offices.

The Jeddah Economic Company (JEC), which
appointed EC Harris and Mace to provide project, commercial and design
management, said the vision for the building belonged to Prince
Al-Waleed bin Talal.

In 2011, it was said that construction
firm Saudi Binladen Group had been given the contract to build the
structure, one of seven ambitious projects in the kingdom which is
OPEC's top exporter of oil.

The Prince had initially wanted to
build the tower a mile high, but abandoned the proposals because he was
worried the soil would not support its foundations.

Prince Alwaleed wants the tower to 'send a message of strength' in tough economic times.

The work is intended to diversify the economy from the crude oil that has fuelled the kingdom's growth for years.

It also reflects a continuation of the
unstated race between the oil rich Gulf nations that are also pumping
tens of billions of dollars into job creation and housing for their
lower income residents.

JEC's chief executive officer, Waleed
Abdul Jaleel Batterjee, said: 'His vision is also that the project
itself will set the world's sights on our beloved Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia and particularly on Jeddah.'

Building work will start later this
year and will be completed within 63 months. Meanwhile, JEC is in final
talks about appointing a quantity surveyor consultancy which will also
be a UK-based firm.

Mark Reynolds, chief executive of
Mace, said: 'Kingdom Tower is a project of international importance and
immense ambition and we are delighted to be part of the joint venture
team tasked with its delivery.'

Brooks, head of property and social infrastructure at EC Harris, said:
'The Kingdom Tower is a landmark building that will clearly demonstrate
Saudi Arabia's ambitions to the world.'