Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal wants to build a mile-high skyscraper and is looking for a major city to host the tower. Alwaleed has asked Emaar Properties, a real estate developer in the United Arab Emirates, to join his investment firm Kingdom Holding in developing the project. "I am now inviting the major cities of the world like Shanghai, Moscow, New York, London and regional cities in the Middle East to come and give their offers," Alwaleed said. Offers would need to include tax incentives and favorable financing terms, he said.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat said that it is possible to build a tower that can stretch up to 1.24 miles high. However, building at such a height could impose many structural challenges, says Dr. Sang Dae Kim, the council's chairman. "There might be constraints for the structural engineering -- we don't know many things," Kim said. "When you go up to one of two kilometers, we don't have much information surrounding the wind conditions."
With the announcement by Saudi Prince al-Walid bin Talal that he intends to build a tower approximately 5,000 feet tall outside the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, engineers and architects are once again asking how high skyscrapers can go. Design features such as a "buttressed core" or a giant pendulum can help correct the sway caused by high-altitude winds, and mass dampers can counteract the shock of an earthquake. "Structural engineering-wise, it's not even difficult," says one expert of the mile-high tower, which will be about twice the height of the current record-holder, the Burj Dubai, which is still under construction.