Over the past few years, Saudi Arabia has built a reputation for challenging the boundaries of urban design with projects such as NEOM. These boundaries are once again being tested with the New Murabba project which will be developing the world’s largest modern downtown in Riyadh. The crown jewel of this development is undoubtedly The Mukaab, an iconic landmark that will end up defining Riyadh’s skyline.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman announced the launch of the New Murabba Development Company (NMDC) on February 16 with the aim of developing Riyadh in line with Saudi Vision 2030. NMDC will also be building The Mukaab which is set to be the face of Riyadh once its completed, much like the Eiffel Tower is for Paris or the Statue of Liberty for New York. At 400 meters in height, 400 meters in length, and 400 meters in width, the massive structure will be the largest inner city building in the world —large enough to fit 20 Empire State Buildings inside.
Inspired by modern Najdi architecture, a style native to Saudi Arabia, the golden exterior of the cube paints a stunning vision as it towers over the city. The inside of the building will house a spiral tower which will be a premium cultural and tourist destination offering options for retail, dining, hospitality, and entertainment while the upper floors contain residential apartments.
The Mukaab will be the world’s first immersive destination making use of the latest innovations in technology. Making use of digital and virtual technology visitors will be immersed in a reality hanging between the virtual and the real. It is The Mukaab’s cubic shape that will allow developers to utilize space in a manner that can accommodate the technologies necessary for this iconic experience. The two million square meters of floor space will soon be a premium destination for people from all around the world and help Saudi Arabia boost its tourism industry.
In conversation with Arab News, Yasser Elsheshtawy, adjunct professor of architecture at Columbia University, New York, and non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, seemed convinced that the project was a defining one for the Kingdom. “The sheer audacity of the project, given its immense scale, will ensure that there will be a steady flow of tourists,” he stated, adding that this will “benefit the local economy and respond to Vision 2030 — the Kingdom’s blueprint for economic diversification.”