Cast & Crew
Documentary about a building competition in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh. Two mega towers are being constructed in a city that currently has no buildings taller than 30 stories. Despite strict Islamic laws, inhospitable climates and a lack of construction technology and materials, the massive Al Faisaliah Tower and the Kingdom Center are underway. Funding the 881-foot Al Faisaliah tower is King Faysal's grandson, 38-year-old Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Khaled Al Saud. Building the competing tower, the Kingdom Center, is another Prince, billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, one of King Faysal's nephews. Although he started his project six months after workers broke ground on the Al Faisaliah, Prince Alwaleed takes comfort in the fact that his tower will be 10 feet taller than the Al Faisaliah. While building towers of this size anywhere is difficult, construction is even more challenging in Riyadh. The 122-degree desert temperatures mean the liquid concrete won't set properly unless mixed with crushed ice. The limestone base on which the city is located had to be pressure-pumped full of concrete in order to stand the weight. Islamic law dictates women may not drive, so parking lots are built so that women can be dropped off. The laws also dictate that men and women use separate entrances, so the buildings must be designed with different hallways and doors. Inside, the department stores are structured so that women may shop unveiled, far from any man's view.