Jeddah Tower

Jeddah Tower – The Tallest Building in Saudi Arabia

The Jeddah Tower is meant to be the tallest building in the world, or at least it was meant to attain this title upon its completion. However, there have been a few snags that have gotten in the way since construction started. But what is the Jeddah Tower? Is the Jeddah Tower finished? What is the history of the Jeddah Tower? These questions and more will be answered in the following article. Keep reading to learn more about the Jeddah Tower!



A Look at the Jeddah Tower

ArchitectAdrian Smith (1944 – Present)
Date Constructed2013 – 2018 (Halted)
Materials UsedConcrete, steel, and glass
Proposed Height1 kilometer (or 3,281 ft)
Current HeightAbout 300 meters (or 984 ft)
LocationJeddah, Saudi Arabia

The Jeddah Tower is a rather fascinating building because of its proposed existence as the future tallest building in the world. It is not the tallest building in the world, not at the moment, but it should have been the tallest building by now. So, why isn’t it the tallest building in the world? What happened to it to make this happen? The issue here comes along with various construction issues because while the Jeddah Tower‘s height was meant to eclipse every other building in the world to be the tallest building in Saudi Arabia and the world at large, it was never completed.

The Jeddah Tower could still become the future tallest building in the world, but as it stopped construction less than halfway up back in 2018 and shows no signs of continuing anytime soon, this is unlikely to come to pass until certain political issues have been rectified in Saudi Arabia.

The Jeddah Tower was meant to be the world’s first one-kilometer-tall building (or 3,281 ft), but right now, it’s simply sitting in the middle of the development project known as the Jeddah Economic City in an incomplete state. But how did it get to that incomplete state? Let’s have a look.


The Jeddah Tower’s History

The Jeddah Tower started its life as nothing more than a dream in 2008. It was supposed to be the world’s very first building that reached the height of one kilometer. This meant that the location needed to be perfectly suited for a structure of this enormous stature. It needed to be somewhere with the correct kind of soil and general geographic location. Initially, they had found a site and proposed that construction would begin in 2012 and this would then mean that the Jeddah Tower completion date would be located somewhere in 2017. This iteration did not come to pass.

One of the things that got in the way was the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis that hit the housing market and then proceeded to lead to the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of 1929.

So, the planning had not yet been finalized. This would change in 2010 when Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture was given the project. Adrian Smith was the specific architect at the firm partially named after him that would be the primary architect on this project. To become the architect, there was some competition involved against other architectural firms. Smith’s firm ultimately won, and as Adrian Smith had also designed the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world back then and at the time of writing, he was a good choice.

That same year, the owners of the site signed the agreements necessary to get things properly underway. To this day, the final proposed Jeddah Tower height has not actually been revealed, as these things are often kept secretive until the building is entirely complete, but the dedication to a structure over the height of one kilometer was still the goal. The next year, in 2011, the plans for the foundations were finalized, and it appeared that construction was finally nearing a starting point. This would eventually occur in 2013. The construction was then underway. It progressed smoothly with no real issues until 2017. Near the end of the year, the most notable thing about the Jeddah Tower’s construction occurred.

While this was meant to be the future tallest building in the world, it was also made by people, and the people in charge of skyscrapers tend to be rich, and the rich are often involved in politics. This was the case here.

The owner of Kingdom Holding Co. and the chairman of the Saudi Binladen Group, both of which owned a significant portion of the structure (with the latter also being the primary contractor behind the building) were arrested. The reason for the arrest was because they were part of those who had been targeted in the 2017 Saudi Arabian purge. This is a political issue that is continuing to this day. With the heads of these companies gone, the construction did resume. There was a tentative Jeddah Tower completion date of 2020, and those in charge argued that the Jeddah Tower’s progress was proceeding nicely.

By the end of 2017, 248 (or 814 ft) of the structure had been completed. There was steady construction thereafter for some time, but the purges had led to labor issues, and the purges were not yet over. It was claimed that construction would soon resume, but the purges only ended in 2019, and a rather famous recent event started in 2020: the Covid-19 pandemic. Construction had ceased and there are no plans to continue it.

At the time of writing, there is no word on when or even if work will resume on the skyscraper that would have been the tallest building in Saudi Arabia and the world.


The Jeddah Economic City

The Jeddah Economic City is the project of which the Jeddah Tower is considered to be the primary project. The idea behind this development project is to produce a new region oriented around both commercial and residential construction. This site would be a new tourist destination in the region and a view towards the future. There are multiple phases to this development project, but as the Jeddah Tower has completely halted construction, the same is true of the Jeddah Economic City.

For now, all we can do is wait and see if this development does eventually come into being.


The Jeddah Tower’s Architecture

The Jeddah Tower makes use of an architectural style known as Neo-Futurism. This architectural style is a development from the last few decades, and it is an attempt at producing structures that are meant to be the buildings of the future. It started its existence as an avant-garde movement, but it has since become a far more common style with regard to major commercial structure design, such as with skyscrapers. One of the most famous buildings to adopt a Neo-Futurist style is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (the building that the Jeddah Tower is attempting to compete with in terms of height).

In this particular case, as with the Burj Khalifa, the head architect behind the design is Adrian Smith.

His work is often Neo-Futurist in its design and one of the major aspects of contemporary design using this style and others is a move towards sustainable construction. This is why sustainability is an important facet of the Jeddah Tower’s design. A structure of this size causes issues for sustainable development, and some of the designs used to mitigate this include the sloped façade design that minimizes the kind of wind flow that may otherwise cause issues for a structure this tall.

Jeddah Tower ProgressAdrian Smith, architect of the Jeddah Tower building; Goyaforya, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a similar fashion to the Burj Khalifa, the Jeddah Tower makes use of a Y-shaped central layout and a tapered general exterior form. This tapered design is particularly important because if the structure had made use of a stepped or rectangular shape, as is more common in skyscrapers, the wind force at the highest floors would sometimes become so intensive that the swaying of the skyscraper would induce nausea in its occupants. The aerodynamic shape would have stopped that from happening. Other than these more technical issues that needed to be rectified, the structure is also intended to, upon completion, have the appearance of a desert plant reaching toward the heavens.

This is meant to be representative of Saudi Arabia’s growth and prosperity into the future. However, as the Jeddah Tower has yet to be completed, all of this is more in the realm of the proposed than the implemented.


The Jeddah Tower’s Height

The Jeddah Tower’s height is the feature that has become its most advertised and talked-about feature because as the future tallest building in the world, it is meant to be the first building to exceed a height of one kilometer. This would make it far larger than anything else by comparison. It would, for instance, far exceed the Dubai-based Burj Khalifa, which is the building that currently holds the record for the tallest building in the world.

The incomplete status of the Jeddah Tower does put something of a dent in these plans though.


The Jeddah Tower’s Progress

By the time the Jeddah Tower’s construction came to an end in 2018, the building had only managed to reach 266 m (or 870 ft) in height. The combination of labor issues and the purges have led to the Jeddah Tower’s progress being halted and unlikely to continue. However, the region around the Jeddah Tower, such as the infrastructure and landscaping work, is mostly completed. So, perhaps construction will begin again, but for now, we will simply have to wait.

Jeddah Tower Completion DateConstruction of the Jeddah Tower in May 2021; Omarnizar05, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The Jeddah Tower was meant to be the future tallest building in the world at a staggering height of one kilometer. This would make it the very first building in the world that managed to reach this incredibly impressive height. However, that has not come to pass. The construction of the site is currently in limbo and there is no word on when it will be finished. In this article, we examined the history, architecture, height, and current progress of the Jeddah Tower. For now, though, it’s simply an incomplete skyscraper in the middle of Saudi Arabia, so it may be best to look at some other buildings instead.




Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Jeddah Tower?

The Jeddah Tower is a skyscraper located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The building is currently incomplete, and construction has been on hold ever since 2018. It was a building that was caught up in a major political scandal in the country and so, for the time being, there is no word on whether it will ever actually be completed. For now, we will simply have to wait and see.


Is the Jeddah Tower Finished?

The Jeddah Tower is far from finished. It was meant to reach a height of one kilometer upon its completion, but it is currently a little over a third of the way there. The Jeddah Tower’s progress is one that has been closely watched by skyscraper enthusiasts who want to see the world’s tallest building finally being completed, but at present, it sits entirely unfinished. However, it is still rather tall even in its incomplete state.


When Is the Jeddah Tower’s Completion Date?

Originally, the Jeddah Tower was supposed to be completely finished by 2020, but thanks to the labor and political issues that hit the building, it has been on hold ever since 2018. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 did not help matters and, at the time of writing, there is no word on a completion date.


What Is the Jeddah Tower’s Height?

The Jeddah Tower’s height is the most impressive attribute about this unfinished skyscraper. This was meant to be the tallest building in Saudi Arabia and the future tallest building in the world at a height of one kilometer. However, since it has remained unfinished since 2018, it is now only a third of the proposed final height. This does, ironically, still make it an immensely tall building, but simply not as tall as it is meant to be when completed.


What Is the Architectural Style of the Jeddah Tower?

The Jeddah Tower, as a contemporary structure, is designed using a Neo-Futurist design. This is a similar overall design to the current tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. The similarity in styles is likely thanks to these two structures being designed by the same architect, Adrian Smith.


Cite this Article

Justin, van Huyssteen, “Jeddah Tower – The Tallest Building in Saudi Arabia.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source. July 27, 2023. URL:

van Huyssteen, J. (2023, 27 July). Jeddah Tower – The Tallest Building in Saudi Arabia. artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source.

van Huyssteen, Justin. “Jeddah Tower – The Tallest Building in Saudi Arabia.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source, July 27, 2023.

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