Saudi Gov’t Backing 400 Meter Tall Cube Building With Digital Interior Walls Driving Visual Experience

February 17, 2023 by Dave Haynes

The Saudi government has announced an ambitious new development on the outskirts of Riyadh that has, as its centerpiece, a giant 400 meter high cube with interior walls that are digital and intended to be experiential.

The overall New Murabba project will cover an area of 19 square kms, featuring some 104,000 residential units, 9,000 hotel rooms, and more than 980,000 sqm of retail space, as well as 1.4 million sqm of office space, 620,000 sqm of leisure assets, and 1.8 million sqm of space dedicated to community facilities. The project is due to be completed in 2030.

Backed by the government, the development company is making the Mukaab (Arab for cube) the iconic landmark. At 400m high, 400m wide, and 400m long, it will be one of the largest built structures in the world.

Press reports out of the country say the Mukaab “will be the world’s first immersive destination, offering an experience created by digital and virtual technology with the latest holographics. The Mukaab”will encompass a tower atop a spiral base, and a structure featuring 2 million sqm of floor space that will be a premium hospitality destination with a multitude of retail, cultural and tourist attractions, along with residential and hotel units, commercial spaces, and recreational facilities.”

There are already all kinds of immersive destinations out there, so world’s first is seriously over-hyping this project. But for sheer scale, I’m not aware of anything remotely like this.

If it was purely a private investor initiative, this thing might not get past the press release stage. But this project is backed by a government that has mountains of oil money, but knows it needs to diversify as global energy needs evolve. It also, like other oil-rich nations in the region, love over-the-top architecture.

I mention this because some LED company is going to theoretically (at least) win a tender down the road for what might end up as the biggest LED video wall set-up in the universe. I’m not aware of anything of this size and ambition, parsing out stuff like the impressive but very low rez LED array that now lines at least one face of the Burj skyscraper in Dubai. The sales commission on the deal could probably buy a third-world country, or a nice dinner in London.

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