Saudi Arabia is about to embark on yet another massive construction project. According to Arab News, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has just revealed plans for a gigantic development in Riyadh called New Murabba, which will cover over seven square miles of prime real estate. To put that into perspective, it’s roughly a third of the size of Manhattan. But wait, it gets even better. The crowning jewel of this urban monstrosity is the Mukaab, a hollow cubed skyscraper that’s almost a quarter-mile long in each direction, able to hold 20 times the capacity of the Empire State Building in New York.
Now, imagine the Empire State Building, but instead of a tower, it’s a cube that’s as wide as it is tall. Oh, and there’s also an additional tower in the centre that will rival the height of those silly antiquated rectangular skyscrapers they still make in other parts of the world.
The Mukaab will provide nearly 22 million square feet of floor space, making it the biggest building in the world by a long shot. And it’s not just your average skyscraper project. The designers are aiming to create the “world’s first immersive destination,” complete with a digital and virtual world augmented by holographics that can transport you to Mars and other destinations (cop that, Elon). But that’s not all. Visitors can also immerse themselves in the deep sea or travel to the floating Hallelujah Mountains from “Avatar.” It sounds like a giant VR planetarium on steroids.
This ambitious project will also feature an impressive array of more earth-bound amenities, including 104,000 residential units, 9,000 hotel rooms, 980,000 square meters of retail space, and 1.4 million square meters of office space. It will also include a museum, a multipurpose theatre, over 80 entertainment and cultural venues, and even a technology and design-focused university.
Now, while the designers claim that New Murabba is meant to be constructed with “sustainability” in mind, let’s be honest, the project’s preposterously gigantic architecture doesn’t exactly scream eco-friendly. And if that’s not enough to make your jaw drop, get this: another monument to the Prince’s grandiosity is already underway – a literal hundred-mile skyscraper.
Sure, plenty of outlandish architectural concepts never see the light of day, but with the construction of the hundred-mile skyscraper already underway, who knows what other fantastical feats of engineering we can expect from the Saudi Crown Prince?
The plan is for construction to complete by 2030, which is a ridiculously short timeline for something of this scale. One can’t help but wonder what kind of human rights violations might be overlooked in the rush to meet this ambitious deadline.
The New Murabba project is just one of many in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify its economy away from oil, generate jobs, and improve its international reputation as a major centre for trade and tourism. A key part of that plan is another wild project we recently covered: the futuristic city of NEOM.
NEOM is a $500 billion city-state under construction in northwest Saudi Arabia that promises to be humanity’s next chapter. Clean energy sources and artificial intelligence are being used to build the futuristic city-state, which will span 10,000 square kilometres in the Saudi Arabian province of Tabuk.
NEOM will feature several notable attractions, including a two-mile freshwater lake called the Vault, a “vertical village within the mountain” with a blend of technology, entertainment, and hospitality amenities, and an all-year-round ski village called TROJENA.
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