What in the world.
As if Saudi Arabia doesn't already have enough giga-scale construction projects on its plate, Riyadh-based newspaper Arab News reports that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has unveiled plans to construct a gigantic downtown development in the country's capital called New Murabba. At over seven square miles in area, it will be about a third the size of Manhattan.
Somehow, that's not even the most fantastical detail of this supposedly soon-to-be "world's largest modern downtown." Behold the crowning jewel of New Murabba: the Mukaab, a gargantuan, hollow cubed skyscraper that reaches nearly a quarter mile long in each direction.
Basically, picture the Empire State Building, except it's a cube that's as wide as it is tall — and that the massive structure also contains an additional tower in the center that itself will rival the height of many skyscrapers.
The Mukaab alone is meant to provide nearly 22 million square feet of floor space, which pretty much blows every building in the world out of the water. Everything from tourist attractions and hotels to residential areas and commercial spaces is planned to be packed inside.
So far — other than its bonkers size and accompanying tower — the interior boasts the typical makings of a vaunted skyscraper project. But its designers also intend the Mukaab to be the "world's first immersive destination" — and trust us, you can't possibly guess what that entails.
By "immersive," the designers mean an entire digital and virtual world augmented by a sea of holographics, claiming to "let you live on Mars," and other destinations.
Visitors can also be immersed in the deep sea, as well as what looks like the floating Hallelujah Mountains out of "Avatar," according to a promotional video. In other words, it sounds like they're intending to make this thing a giant, almost VR planetarium.
According to Arab News, New Murabba is meant to be constructed with "sustainability" in mind, but none of the project's preposterously gigantic architecture exactly screams eco-friendly.
It's so absurd that it can only be topped by another monument to the Prince's grandiosity: a literal hundred-mile skyscraper, the construction of which is already underway.
Of course, there are plenty of ludicrous architectural concepts that never have a real shot of actually getting built, but if bin Salman has already broken ground on the hundred-mile skyscraper, what's stopping him from attempting this?
The plan is for construction to complete by 2030, which is a ridiculously short timeline for something of this scale. We shudder to think of the human rights violations that it could lead to.
More on architecture: Satellite Images Show Progress on 100-Mile Long Skyscraper in Saudi Arabia
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