CTBUH director takes the ride of his life at Jeddah Tower site

Dr. Antony Wood, executive director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), recently got a firsthand look at the soon-to-be world’s tallest building, a tour that encompassed a bottom-to-top viewing of work going on at Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Wood and his hosts, officials with tower developer Jeddah Economic Co. and contractor Saudi Binladin Group, made their way to the top of the structure, which at the time was level 56, some 252 meters above the ground. When complete, Jeddah Tower will stand at least 1,000 m tall and house hotel, residential and office space, among other uses, in its 167 stories, and will be the centerpiece of a huge development called Jeddah Economic City. Bringing the tour to a close in hair-raising fashion, Wood and his hosts rode down in a materials hoist lowered by one of the construction cranes, a trip that offered the group spectacular views not only of the work going on, but also of the Red Sea, Jeddah and the massive site of the development.

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Looking out on London from the lift at the Lloyds building. Photo / EZTD

The key to this bastion of high-tech architecture was its inside-out design: all the services were strung around the outside of the building, leaving the cavernous insides relatively uncluttered. The most conspicuous aspect of this are the lifts, glass boxes that crawl up and down the walls like rectilinear albino beetles. Aside from the vertigo, the elevators also offer great views of the City. The new Heron tower on Bishopsgate has lifts on its south façade through which you can see out of the building, but Lloyds was there first and did it better.

 

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