Still Creeping Towards the Heavens

I don’t know why I love skyscrapers. I don’t live in a giant Metropolis. I will probably never work or reside in a giant high-rise. They are glass-sealed spaceships, cut off from the afternoon breeze, often appearing cold and unloving. But despite all this, I find them fascinating and awe-inspiring.

Kingdom Tower rendered through the clouds

The announcement of the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia marks the world’s first kilometer high skyscraper to be actually built.  Construction is planned ‘imminently’, and we can expect to marvel at the 157+ story goliath by the end of the decade.  And remember, this comes on the heels of the completion of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai’s current flagship, and the current tallest building in the world. We can glimpse Tom Cruise doing his acrobatic thing off of the edge of this incredibly tall tower in this winter’s Mission Impossible film.

In the ever-growing race to out-do one another, Kingdom Tower will indeed tower over Burj Khalifa by at least 500 feet. Yes, it’s a classic macho size comparison, but the stakes are billion dollar construction budgets and Chicago architecture firms hired to push the very limits of engineering.

Despite all of this, we’ve still not reached the incredible Mile-High concept that Frank Lloyd Wright proposed back in 1956. The Illinois was a concept that would have reached a full mile into the heavens, and held 528 stories. Still impossible with today’s technology, though architects and engineers keep creeping towards that goal, bit by bit. Kingdom Tower is next in line.

Frank Lloyd Wright's 'The Illinois', a mile high skyscraper