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 article, we’ll explore everything we know so far about the Mukaab, the challenges it faces, and its potential impact on Saudi Arabia’s economy and tourism industry.
Vision 2030: Saudi Arabia’s Megaprojects
Saudi Arabia is a wealthy country in the heart of the Middle East that is known for its vast oil reserves. 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. In January, the CEO of NEOM announced that the city’s total infrastructure was already 20% complete. An update video 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.
New Murabba: The Cube-Shaped Building in Riyadh
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.
What Is the 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.
The Mukaab project is a massive undertaking, and whether it is ultimately successful or not, it is a testament to the ambitious vision of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and the country’s broader Vision 2030 initiative.
As Saudi Arabia looks to diversify its economy away from oil, megaprojects like NEOM and the Mukaab are designed to attract international attention and investment, while also providing jobs and new opportunities for Saudi citizens.
But whether these projects will ultimately succeed remains to be seen. They face significant technical, financial, and logistical challenges, and many experts remain skeptical about their feasibility.
Despite these challenges, the Mukaab project is a fascinating glimpse into the future of architecture, technology, and tourism. If it is successful, it could become an iconic landmark and a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world to Riyadh.
Whether it succeeds or fails, however, the Mukaab will undoubtedly be a project that captures the imagination and inspires future generations of architects, engineers, and visionaries. And for that reason alone, it is worth watching closely as it moves forward.