On 4 March, the UK specialist magazine Architects’ Journal published news that left the entire architecture and construction sector somewhat astonished: the start of a project for a skyscraper no less than 2 km high. According to the publication, the British architectural firm Foster+Partners is currently working on the design. Its location, north of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, next to King Khalid International Airport.

The truth is that we have not been able to find any more details about this project and, in fact, all the newspapers and publications, specialised or otherwise, cite Architects’ Journal as a source of information. The magazine itself, in the last line of its article, states that “Foster + Partners was contacted for comment“. Whether or not they actually spoke to the firm’s architects and thus gathered their comments is unclear. It would therefore appear that we do not have confirmation from the architects.

In any case, we read in Middle East Business Intelligence (MEED), which cites “sources close to the project”, that the architectural firm Foster+Partners won the design competition for the 2 km high tower held at the end of 2022. According to the same media, the American architectural firms Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architecture, Kohn Pedersen Fox and Gensler participated in the design competition; 10 Design, which is part of the French Egis, and Killa Design, based in Dubai, also took part.

Surprisingly, there are no images of these designs and so few details of the project have emerged. In any case, most news reports compare the new 2km tower to the world’s tallest buildings, which it would beat hands down. Be that as it may, MEED’s estimate of the cost of construction, based on testimony from “contractors that have priced megatall towers in the region”, is $5 billion.

We will wait and see, because it will not be an easy project to bring to the construction phase, let alone build, as the 1km-high Jeddah Tower project demonstrates. Construction of this latest skyscraper has only resumed this very year (2024), after it was halted in 2017, as we wrote in The 1,000 m Jeddah Tower, Saudi Arabia (+VIDEO)

Sources: Architects’ Journal, MEED, Parametric Architecture.