The Cube Saudi Arabia’s Next Megaproject, 2023/ Vision  2030.

The Cube Saudi Arabia's Next Megaproject
The Cube Saudi Arabia’s Next Megaproject

The Cube Saudi Arabia’s Next Megaproject, 2023

The Cube Saudi Arabia’s Next Megaproject. First ‘The Line’ and the ‘Oxagon’, then the  ‘Dubai Circle’ — now a giant cube. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia announced its latest project:  the Mukaab. It’s a cube so big, that it could fit 20 Empire State Buildings inside of it. Saudi  Arabia described it as a “gateway to another world,”

with a holographic dome that transports  its visitors to other planets and magical worlds. But is this just a viral marketing stunt, or  will the Mukaab actually be built? And if so, when would it open to the public? In this  video, we’ll look at everything we know so far. Saudi Arabia is a wealthy country in the heart  of the Middle East that is known for its vast oil reserves.

The Cube Saudi Arabia's Next Megaproject

But it is precisely this oil that  Saudi Arabia wants to become less dependent on. That’s why they’ve started announcing and building  massive megaprojects under the slogan Vision 2030, to slowly shift their economy away from oil  and towards tourism.

The largest of these projects is NEOM, a $1 trillion megaproject  that includes a 170-kilometer long Line city, a floating port-city called Octagon, and a massive  ski resort in the Arabian Desert called Trojena. We have already talked about NEOM in some of  our previous videos. But in the last few weeks, there have been some major updates  on these projects. In January, the CEO of NEOM announced that the city’s  total infrastructure was already 20% complete.

An update video — which started with the  words “NEOM is real” — showed images from huge construction sites, including  the Line, the Oxagon, and Trojena. Saudi Arabia has also partnered  with some major companies, including Oracle and NVIDIA, which will help  to set up NEOM’s city-wide AI technology.

As if the announcement of NEOM including the Line, Oxagon, and Trojena wasn’t enough,  now there’s another brand-new project: Welcome to New Murabba This cube is the latest addition to Saudi  Arabia’s Vision 2030. NEOM has drawn a lot of attention in the last few months, but Saudi  Arabia doesn’t want to neglect the kingdom’s other big cities.

That’s why New Murabba will  be built in Riyadh — Saudi Arabia’s capital. Riyadh is already a rapidly growing city. 50  years ago, it was a town with less than half a million citizens, but now it has more  than 7 million — the third largest city in the Middle East. And according to the  Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the New Murabba project will become  the world’s largest modern downtown.

This new district is expected  to take the growth of Riyadh to another level. It will be fitted out  with more than 80 entertainment venues, several walking trails, a large  museum — and at the center of it all: The colossal Mukaab: ‘Mukaab’ means ‘cube’ in Arabic,  so the building will literally be called The Cube. Building simple  geometric shapes at an insane scale, seems to be a theme for Saudi Arabia’s  megaprojects after the Line and the Oxagon. The Mukaab has been described as the “new face of  Riyadh.”

The exterior of the cube is inspired by Najdi architecture, a traditional style which  has been used by the people of Saudi Arabia for hundreds of years. The beautiful surface will  shine in the sun, and dominate Riyadh’s skyline. The scale of this cube will be breathtaking. At  400 meters tall, it will technically count as a supertall skyscraper. If placed in Dubai,  it would be the 4th tallest building.

But unlike other skyscrapers, the Mukaab is also  400 meters wide, and would completely dominate the skyline. To put that into context, you could  fit 20 Empire State buildings inside the Mukaab. It would dwarf the existing cube-shaped buildings  in other parts of the world. The Berlin Cube, for example, is a striking office block in  Germany.

Its mirrored sides are eye-catching, but it’s only 40 meters tall — you could  fit a thousand of these inside the Mukaab. In terms of sheer volume, this cube could  become the largest structure on earth, easily beating the current record holder: the  Boeing Everett Factory in Washington.

In fact, it would be so big that the Boeing Factory  could fit almost 5 times into the cube. But what will all this space be used for? Setting foot inside the Mukaab cube is meant  to feel like entering another world. A colossal dome will tower over its visitors that  display’s different virtual realities.

These holographic images are supposed to  make the Mukaab’s visitors feel as though they’re in a different world. In one second  you could be in the bottom of the ocean, while in another moment you are on the  surface of Mars or in a magical fantasy world. It’s meant to be an immersive experience  unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

It's meant to be an immersive experience  unlike anything you've ever seen before.

At the center of the dome will be a spiral  tower, which looks almost like an anthill, or brackets of fungus, rising from the  floor to the roof. This tower is meant to be a premium destination for tourists all  around the world. It will have restaurants, hotel rooms, observation platforms,  and cinemas and theaters too. The tower and the dome will then  be enclosed by the massive cube.

The four corners of the cube will  also be packed with facilities, stacked up in skyscraper-like towers. The top  will be used as well, housing lakes, lawns and trees. Whether it makes sense to build a lake on  it, or if it’s even possible, is another matter. If you enjoy this video so  far, support us on our way to 1 million subscribers and make  sure to subscribe to Top Luxury!

The Cube: Saudi Arabia's Next Megaproject

So why is the Mukaab cube-shaped? According to the Mukaab’s designers, the  cube-shaped design is the most efficient shape for accommodating all the advanced  technologies that will support the overall experience. How they want to display the  virtual worlds isn’t clear yet but the technology will need to be hidden in the space  between the bell-jar dome and the outer cube.

Between the dome and the shell, there will  also need to be a robust array of joists and beams to hold up the gardens on the top  of the cube. The skyscraper-like towers at each corner of the cube will help  with support as well. If that’s enough to support the largest roof in the world  and the garden on top is questionable.

The cube-shaped design is also meant to make  the Mukaab more iconic. ​​The Mukaab would give Riyadh a unique landmark that would make  the city instantly recognizable among other big cities in the world. It’s like the Eiffel  Tower in Paris, or the Statue of Liberty in New York. Whenever anyone sees a photo of the  cube, they will instantly think of Riyadh. Yet, the shape has drawn a bit of criticism. Some  people say that it bears a resemblance to the Kaaba, in Mecca; another city in Saudi Arabia.

The Kaaba is the most sacred site in Islam; when a Mulsim prays, anywhere in the  world, they make sure to face towards it. But other people have dismissed the  similarity, and pointed out that the Kaaba isn’t the only cube in the world.  When the Berlin Cube was built in Germany, nobody said it resembled the Kaaba, so why  should the Mukaab be any different? These people also pointed out that the Saudi crown  is Muslim; they wouldn’t deliberately build an offensive, Kaaba-shaped building, so  the similarity is probably a coincidence.

In general, the announcement of  the Mukaab project has been met with excitement and intrigue. But  everyone has the same question: Will the Mukaab really be built? Construction hasn’t started yet, but  in theory, it will begin in the next few months. Saudi Arabia has promised that  the project will open to the public in 2030, just like the other Vision 2030 projects,  including the Line, the Oxagon, and Trojena.

Compared to the Line this project is probably  easier to achieve. Nevertheless, it would pretty much still be the biggest megaproject ever  built. That’s why its outcome is hard to predict. So let’s break it down into 3 different scenarios: The first possible scenario, which Saudi  Arabia would probably enjoy the most, is that the construction of the cube  will start in the next months and the 400 meter tall cube will be finished by  2030, exactly as they have announced it.

Riyadh will receive its new icon and  slowly attract more and more tourists from all over the world to become one  of the most visited places on earth. If this all sounds too good to be  true, that’s because there are quite a few hurdles to overcome, which  leads us to the second scenario: Financial experts are already skeptical about  the feasibility of the project.

They cannot see where Saudi Arabia will find the money  to build yet another ambitious megaproject. Doctor Andreas Krieg, an expert in Middle  Eastern Studies at Kings College London, said “The finances of all of  this are not entirely secured.” A few days after the Mukaab’s announcement, CNN  asked the Public Investment Fund how they planned to finance the project. The PIF replied that  financial details had not been disclosed yet, but that more information would be released soon.

A lot will depend on foreign investment. By  2030, Saudi Arabia is hoping to bring in more than $100 billion per year, which would  help to finance projects like the Mukaab. They’re nowhere near that figure yet,  but if enough hype can be generated, foreign investment could rapidly start to rise.

But there’s no guarantee of  that happening, though. Vision 2030 was accused of human rights  violations by Amnesty International, leaving a stain on the entire project and  potentially scaring off foreign investors.

The Cube: Saudi Arabia's Next Megaproject

But even if Saudi Arabia does raise the money, there is a far more difficult  challenge to overcome: Is this megaproject even technologically possible? Holograms, like the ones described in the Mukaab’s  announcement, don’t exist yet. Some cutting-edge companies, like Light Field Lab, have made  some major advancements in recent years, but holograms on the scale of Mukaab’s  dome are still like science fiction.

A similar effect could probably be  achieved using giant LED screens. That’s what’s happening at the MSG Sphere —  a project currently being built in Las Vegas, and expected to open this year. This  immersive entertainment venue will be shaped like a giant sphere, with a wrap-around  screen completely covering the inside wall.

At 15,000 square meters, it will be the  largest screen in the world — about the size of three football pitches.  It’s designed to transport the Sphere’s audiences to immersive worlds,  just like the Mukaab in Saudi Arabia. But there’s a major difference:  the Mukaab’s screen would need to be at least twenty times bigger  than the one in the MSG Sphere, and it’s hard to know whether a screen  that large could actually be built.

And let’s not forget about the giant lake  on the roof of the cube. Millions of liters of water would significantly increase the  stress on the structure. So the cube would have to be built extremely sturdy, and also be  completely waterproof. If the lake were to leak, it would have a devastating effect on the  expensive technology directly underneath.

In other words, the cube is already facing some  major challenges. Without money to pay for it, or technology to support it, there’s a  chance it will end up never finished. But there is a third option: maybe  the cube will be built one day, but in a downsized, less ambitious  form. It could be reduced in size, from 400 meters to 200 meters or smaller.

Even at 100 meters, it would still be the largest cube-shaped building in the world,  and an impressive sight to behold. It would be a disappointment compared to the current  designs, but surely better than nothing. It’s impossible to know what will happen  next, but one thing’s for certain: it’s shaping up to be a fascinating couple of  years.

It’s impossible to know what will happen  next, but one thing’s for certain:

When 2030 finally arrives, the Mukaab, the Line, and other groundbreaking projects  might open their doors to the public. Or maybe none of them will ever be finished. What do  you think? Let us know in the comments below. And if you want to hear more about Vision  2030.

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