Given our city’s heritage as the birthplace of the skyscraper and home to many of the nation’s tallest buildings, it’s not surprising that the rest of the world continues to look to our architects for their super-sized projects. A report out of the Middle East claims Chicago architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill have been tapped to design a skyscraper that will dethrone the recently completed Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building.
The Saudi Arabian tower will be located near Jeddah and rise at least 3,281 feet (one kilometer), more than twice the height of the Sears Willis Tower. The Trib’s Blair Kamin reports that a formal contract hasn’t been signed yet and that a spokesperson for Smith and Gill wouldn’t confirm the report.
While the commission for the small firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill would be a coup by beating out the Chicago office of renowned designers Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, both Smith and Gill are alumni of SOM. In fact, while with the firm, Smith was lead architect for the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa. This latest potential commission will allow him to climb ever skyward. Is it now only a matter of time before Frank Lloyd Wright’s dream of the Mile High Illinois come to fruition someplace, even if not here in Chicago?