World’s tallest building opens in Dubai

Jan 5, 2010
  • Article by Online Editor

The world’s tallest building, which reaches a height of 828 metres, opened in Dubai yesterday. Designed by US firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the Burj Khalifa beats the former record holder, Taipei 101, by over 300 metres.

The lavish inauguration ceremony featured a fireworks display and a digital presentation listing the facts and figures of the building, including the final height of the tower, which had previously been a well-guarded secret.

However, the inauguration of the building that was to illustrate the limitless opportunities of Dubai comes after a real estate crash in the state in late 2009. Neighbouring emirates state Abu Dhabi stepped in to provide financial aid to the crashing Dubai economy, reportedly pumping tens of billions of dollars into the state.

The tower, previously known as the Burj Dubai, was renamed after Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, leader of Abu Dhabi, at the opening ceremony.

The project has been under construction since January 2004, costing US$1.5 billion. The interior, as yet unfinished, will be home to luxury apartments, offices and a hotel, as well as the world’s highest mosque and swimming pool on the 158th and 76th floors respectively.

Fifty-seven lifts serve the building’s 160 floors. The developers claim that the viewing deck on the 124th floor gives views that can reach 100 kilometres, while the exterior is clad in almost 26,000 hand-cut glass panels.

Structural engineer Bill Baker of SOM described the project as an “exploration” and a “learning experience,” adding: “We weren’t sure how high we could go.” Baker said that early plans for the building only saw it beat the height of Taipei 101 by around 10 metres.

The reinforced concrete structure has air-conditioned, fire-resistant refuge floors at 25-storey intervals. Developer Emaar’ Properties’ director of projects, Greg Sang, said the tower was “a lot more robust” than steel columns used in other high-rise buildings.

SOM explain that the Y shape of the building is designed to “confuse the wind”. Each tier of the building steps back, creating a spiral pattern up the building and altering the width of the building at each new tier. “The wind vortexes never get organised because at each new tier the wind encounters a different building shape.”

Image 2 courtesy [“saharsh”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/sashdc/4121809871/]

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