After a five-year pause, construction on the Jeddah Tower has resumed. Set to become the world’s tallest skyscraper and beat the UAE’s Burj Khalifa, the tower was designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and initially began construction in 2013. Interestingly, the Burj Khalifa was also designed by Adrian Smith while at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The scheme faced many delays, including a pause in 2018 and further setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the initial contractor was replaced during the 2017-2019 Saudi Arabian purge.
Jeddah: The Latest Architecture and News
Heatherwick Studio Transforms an Old Desalination Plant into a Museum District in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Heatherwick Studio has unveiled a new project to transform an old desalinization plant into the centerpiece of a new cultural district on the waterfront of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The industrial structure is set to be reconfigured to become The Museum, large complex offering production spaces, studios, and ateliers for artists and makers. Its program also includes exhibition spaces that can accommodate large-scale commissions to help visitors to learn and feel inspired by the next generation of artists.
L.E.FT Architects Deconstructs Traditional Mosque for Jeddah Islamic Arts Biennale, in Collaboration with Iheb Guermazi and Beya Othmani
L.E.FT Architects, an architecture firm focused on examining the cultural and political intersections in the built environment, exhibited Jerba: Prototype 366, in the first edition of the Islamic Arts Biennale, taking place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Presenting a historical and contemporary exploration of Islamic heritage, the biennale, curated by Sumayya Vally, was located in the Western Hajj Terminal, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1981.
The Islamic Arts Biennale re-imagines the Western Hajj Terminal at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as a cultural space to create an evocative journey to explore Islamic heritage. The terminal, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and a winner of the 1983 Aga Khan Award, will be extended and complemented to create the setting for the event. Through the contributions of over 60 artists from over 20 countries, the biennale aims to become a platform to explore and reflect the diversity of the Muslim experience worldwide. Themed Awwal Bait, or The First House, the event intertwines commissioned works with never-before exhibited historical artifacts to convey a holistic perspective of the Islamic arts. The Biennale, curated by Sumayya Vally, now in its inaugural edition, will be open from January 2023 to April 2023.
Diriyah Biennale Foundation recently revealed the curatorial team of Saudi Arabia's inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale, highlighting the past and present art of the Islamic culture. Among the curators is Sumayya Vally, co-founder of Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace, responsible for designing the 2021 Serpentine Pavilion. Taking place in Jeddah in early 2023, the Islamic Arts Biennale will foster artistic exchanges and further establish Saudi Arabia's status within the art scene.
Natural Swimming Pools and an Airport City Master Plan: 10 Unbuilt Projects Submitted by our Readers
Focusing on diversity, this curated selection of the Best Unbuilt Architecture showcases a multitude of functions. Submitted by our readers, the projects vary in scale, program, design, and representation. Coming from all over the world, many of these interventions are in progress, while others are still in conceptual phases.
Introducing innovative and out of the box ideas, this roundup includes a floating farm in the Netherlands, natural swimming pools in South Korea, a resort in Hungary, and a cascading museum extension in Armenia. Even more common functions such as a hotel in Vietnam, an infinity loop library in China, a mixed-use building in Iran, headquarters for Yandex in Russia, and a campus in Germany, present inventive approaches and intriguing imageries.
Slated to open in 2020, Benoy has released their design for a central academic building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It will house the Global Business School, an educational hub that will attract Saudi and international business students through executive education programs in collaboration with Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School of Harvard University (USA), SC Johnson College of Business of Cornell University (USA), and Imperial College Business School (UK).
Aedas has unveiled the design for Abdul Latif Jameel's Corporate Headquarters in the port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Currently under construction, the open plan office will provide a centralized facility for 2,500 employees for Abdul Latif Jameel, the largest independently owned Toyota distributor in the world. Designed by Andrew Bromberg of Aedas, the Abdul Latif Jameel headquarters will be on a site north of Al-Balad, Jeddah's historic center, near the airport and the Prince Majid Road, a north to south thoroughfare. The headquarters project will be adjacent to existing Abdul Latif Jameel facilities including a Vehicle Service Center, workshop space, offices, a training center, and vehicle stockyard.
Foster + Partners has been appointed through an international competition to develop the “architectural vision” for Jeddah’s city-wide public transport plan. The commission, made official today by the Makkah Province governor, seeks to establish a “long-term, sustainable” city network plan that will foster flexible growth and achieve efficiency through the integration of all modes of transportation, including metro, ferry, bus and cycle.
“The comprehensive plan extends from the design of the stations to the trains and branding,” said Foster + Partners. “In addition, the development of the metro system will create a new urban amenity for the city of Jeddah at key locations below the elevated track.” The masterplan will also allocate space for public squares and various nodes of development.
According to the Architects' Journal, Foster + Partners has been selected to design all 46 stations of the new $12 billion metro system in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - a commission that could earn the practice up to £100 million ($160 million) in fees. Planned for a 2020 completion date and a 2022 opening, the metro project aims to remove 30% of Jeddah's traffic within the next 20 years, a significant goal as until now public transport has not been popular: currently just one or two percent of commuters in the city use public transport.
The world economy has endured a series of crises over the past century, and architecture has recently been recognized as a harbinger of these crises. Two years ago, British finance group Barclays released an index of skyscraper construction projects that correlate with the occurrence of economic downturns since 1873. Many of the tallest buildings in the world have been built at times of severe economic struggle, the most recent being Dubai's Burj Khalifa, built during the Great Recession of 2007 through 2010. According to Barclays, "the world’s tallest buildings are simply the edifice of a broader skyscraper building boom, reflecting a widespread misallocation of capital and an impending economic correction."
All the major financial crises in the past century, and the buildings that predicted them after the break...
Work on Kingdom Tower is moving forward, as above-ground construction is slated to begin April 27. Rising over 1000 meters (3,280 feet), the $1.2 billion skyscraper is expected to be the world’s tallest, surpassing the 828 meter tall Burj Khalifa upon completion in 2017.