The world’s tallest building…the Burj Khalifa

Opening this week, the 828 m (2,716.5 ft) mixed use building knocked Toronto’s CN Tower out of its 35 year record standing. Yes, it true folks, Canada has tall buildings too….the CN Tower which was completed in 1975 stands at 553.33 m (1,815 ft, 5 in). While Torontonians may not to be too concerned about the CN Tower being bumped down on the world’s tallest buildings list, it would appear that size really does matter to some countries. China’s Guangzhou TV and Sightseeing Tower is set to rival the Burj Khalifa as it will bump the CN Tower further down the list when it is completed in 2011.

But, back to the Burj…  Construction began in 2004, during a time of economic growth. However, times have obviously changed in this playground, with Dubai recently accepting a $10 billion handout from the towers namesake (President Khalifa Bin Zayed; President of the UAE ).  However, 1,325 days after excavation began, over 6,000 people showed up to witness the spectacular fireworks signaling the grand opening of the record breaking tower.

Architects and engineers from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill worked (along with other professionals) to create this national icon which can be seen from approximately 60 miles away and boasts the world’s highest mosque and swimming pool. The concrete, steel and glass building has over 1,000 apartments for sale with prices originally reported to be around $2,700/sq ft (prices have since decreased). In addition to the residential space, the tower has 49 floors dedicated to office space and what mega tower would be complete without a luxury hotel? Well the Burj Khalifa won’t let visitors down, it has the Armani design seal of approval on 160 opulent rooms.

A few construction details:

Graphic showing the construction of the Burj Dubai
1. The tower is composed of three elements arranged around a central core. The design is said to be based on the desert flower Hymenocallis native to the region
2. The Y-shaped floor plan aims to maximize views of the Gulf. As the building rises, its floor space decreases in size
3. The building’s core also features double-decker elevators, said to be some of the fastest in the world.
4. The foundations were dug to depths of 50m (164 ft).
Source: Emaar/Reuters

In the end, the Burj Khalifa is right where everyone intended for it to be; at the center of attention across the world. Reviews so far have been quite divided, with people either loving or hating this enormous structure.  German architects have come out, calling the landmark a pointless symbol of power and prestige, with the President of the German architects’ association DAI, saying it “hardly represents a sustainable contribution to current world building practices.”
I want to know what you think, so vote in the poll.

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