The good news: this is an extraordinarily gorgeous rendering. The laws of physics dictate that absurdly tall buildings taper as they reach for the heavens. This presents some wonderful sculptural possibilities; ones that Smith and Gill have taken advantage of here.
There’s also something oddly beautiful about super tall buildings, in the abstract: they photograph well, they look awe-inspiring from the window of an airplane, or the front seat of a car headed in from the airport. It’s at street level where the idea loses its romance. They’re great, in other words, until they become real.
The bad news here: the symbolism seems particularly ill-timed. With world financial markets tottering and the hopes of an Arab Spring dashed, along comes the autocratic and oil rich Saudi royal family to sponsor the next world’s tallest building. (It is literally one of those records made to be broken.) My reaction isn’t wow—we know they can do it, they’re structural geniuses—but why? More info