Architects Design 100-Mile-Long Mirrored Skyscraper That Runs Into the Red Sea

Rendering of The Line in NEOM, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has revealed plans for The Line, a futuristic urban planning model intended to house 9 million residents. The innovative design, which looks ripped from a video game, sees two tall, narrow buildings run into the Red Sea. The mirror-clad building will be a highlight of Neom, a smart city being built in northwest Saudi Arabia.

Though the Saudi government had previously announced plans for The Line, Prince Mohammed's announcement is the first time the public is receiving specifics. The Line will run 105 miles across the desert, making it by far the longest building ever created. Standing 1,640 feet tall, it is only 656 feet wide, which means its overall footprint is small. This design allows Neom's environment to remain undisturbed in a way that wouldn't be possible using the traditional urban plan of creating a city horizontally.

By thinking vertically, the plan is to create neighborhoods where residents would have access to all their basic needs within a five-minute walk. At the same time, integrated transportation would make it possible to travel the entire length of The Line in just 20 minutes.

Futuristic Architecture in Saudi Arabia

“At The Line’s launch last year, we committed to a civilizational revolution that puts humans first based on a radical change in urban planning,” shared Prince Mohammed, who is also chairman of the NEOM Board of Directors. “The designs revealed today for the city's vertically layered communities will challenge the traditional flat, horizontal cities and create a model for nature preservation and enhanced human livability. The Line will tackle the challenges facing humanity in urban life today and will shine a light on alternative ways to live.”

The renderings show two buildings running side-by-side. The inner void will be filled with greenery, as well as walkways and bridges that connect both sides. The idea is to have The Line run 100% on renewable energy, which will most likely be possible due to solar energy harnessed from the desert. Though the government did not announce the architects who designed The Line, Dezeen reports that it was conceived by the American firm Morphosis.

While no timeline for the construction of The Line was announced, Neom has set a deadline of 2030 for its first phase. At that point, residents would be expected to move in. The Guardian reports that this first phase will cost over $320 billion, with that money coming from government subsidies, the private sector, and an initial public offering set for 2024.

Though some are skeptical that Neom and The Line can get off the ground, the prince is firm in his belief in the project. In fact, he's banking on it to help move the Saudi economy away from its reliance on oil. “That’s the main purpose of building Neom,” he said. “To raise the capacity of Saudi Arabia, get more citizens and more people in Saudi Arabia. And since we are doing it from nothing, why should we copy normal cities?”

The Line is an extravagant new model for urban planning in Saudi Arabia.

Interior of Saudi Arabia's The Line

The design runs 105 miles into the Red Sea.

Rendering of Saudi Arabia's The Line

Two skyscrapers will be connected by walkways and bridges, with greenery nestled in between.

Interior of Saudi Arabia's The Line

By layering necessities vertically, The Line's 9 million residents will have access to all their needs within a five-minute walking radius.

Interior of Saudi Arabia's The Line

The Line is part of Neom, a project to create a new smart city in northwest Saudi Arabia.

Rendering of The Line in Saudi Arabia

Though the timeline for construction is unclear, Neom's first building phase is meant to be complete in 2030.

Rendering of The Line in Saudi Arabia

The government is looking to Neom as a way to diversify its economy and move away from its reliance on oil.

Rendering of The Line in Saudi Arabia

Interior of Saudi Arabia's The Line

Learn more about The Line in this promotional video.

Neom: Website | Facebook | Instagram 

All images via Neom.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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