MEA catches an exclusive interview with Adrian Smith, architect of Burj Khalifa and Kingdom Tower, before his keynote speech at the Green Build Congress in Dubai.
You were recently quoted as stating that Jeddah’s 1km-high Kingdom Tower is due to start construction in January. Is this correct?
It is probably wrong to say it will start in January. There is one more permit to get. It could start in December, or it could be delayed until February.
You also designed the 828m-high Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Did this experience help with the design of Kingdom Tower?
Yes, it’s an evolution of the design of the Burj Khalifa. It’s an improvement on the building’s ability to shed vortices and the tapered shape allows us to cut down on materials. It does have its disadvantages – every floor is different so it takes longer to design each floor.
Are you working on any other projects in the Middle East?
We [Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture] are working on three buildings in Riyadh that are under construction. They range from 20 to 30 storeys. We are also doing the shopping mall for Kingdom Tower.
So not all super-tall towers then? We wrote an article on you for Construction Week called ‘King of skyscrapers’.
[Laughs] Yes, I guess the tall building is considered to be my thing.