During the World Wars, we had the Arms Race; and in the Cold War, we had the Space Race; now, it appears it’s time for another “race,” and this time it’s between Saudi Arabia and Dubai. The competition? The World’s Tallest Tower, and it’s a race against time.

The goal is to pierce the skies much higher than Burj Khalifa, which is in Dubai, which currently holds the World’s Tallest Tower title since 2010 at 2,723 feet or 830m.

On the red corner is Dubai Creek Harbor’s The Tower, a whopping 3,045 feet or 928m of sheer beauty that aims to be a huge waterfront. On the blue corner is Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower, at a whopping 3,281 feet or 1,000m – 236 feet or 72m taller than the former. Both towers are slated to finish as soon as 2020.

For Dubai’s The Tower, it’s has to finish construction sooner and open its doors to hold the title, even for a short while. For The Jeddah Tower, it’s has to make sure it’s stable enough to hold the title long enough before another attempt is made to surpass it.

Regardless, both towers prove just how impressive humanity’s engineering has reached.


The Numbers Behind The Towers

If there’s anything impressive about both towers, it’s not just their sheer height, but what it took to get there.

Dubai’s The Tower is being handled by Emaar, which is the same real estate giant that handled the Burj Khalifa’s construction. The Tower will not only aim for the world record, but to also be the anchor to hold the entire Dubai Creek project, which will hopefully be a magnet for better tourism.

The Tower boasts various vertical gardens, with 18 to 20 stories reserved for a boutique hotel, shops, restaurants and homes. The Pinnacle Room, designed by Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava Valls, is an observation point that offers a majestic 360-degree view of the emirate.

If the construction follows its schedule, then the $1-billion arrow in the sky will need to be constructed in a matter of three years.

Saudi Arabia’s The Jeddah Tower took a little longer to conceptualize, having started construction as early as April 1, 2013. Despite the irony in the date, The Jeddah Tower is no joke. It’s supposed to be opened to the public as early as 2018, but the date had to be pushed back. The Jeddah Tower will need 80,000 tons of steel and 5.7-million square feet of concrete to build.

Construction, however, seems to be in good shape as the $1.23-billon project is already 40 floors in, with 212 more to go.

Interestingly, despite The Jeddah Tower’s headstart, The Tower in Dubai still has a chance of being able to finish first. Given the Dubai project is primarily an observation tower, it’s said it doesn’t have to have as much lead time compared to when you have to create a skyscraper. According to Jason Gabel of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the Dubai project can be less a building and more a “supported tower,” given less than 50-percent of its height is usable floor space.


Middle East: Home To Arrows In The Sky

tallest towerGiven modern developments through the year, the Middle East – especially Dubai – has been home to images of futuristic buildings and skyscrapers.

Gabel mentioned that while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) still holds a lot of prestige when it comes to the height and rate at which it’s constructing towers, notable competition is at the form of Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Qatar. As such the entire Dubai versus Saudi Arabia situation is not just good for business and tourism, but an interesting situation as well.

Dubai’s rise to prominence as a home for skyscrapers had humble beginnings – starting with the Dubai World Trade Center’s opening in 1979, which is a whopping 39-storey building. Back then, it was Dubai’s first high-rise and the Middle East’s tallest building. Now buildings such as Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa has brought Dubai to the limelight of global engineering and architecture.

This pursuit of vast heights can be attributed to the benefits such popularity could bring, as height produces visibility and iconicity. Public identity, tourism numbers, investment flows, and real estate valuation can get positive impact from projects such as the two towers.



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