In January 2004, Dubai announced Burj Dubai to the world with the claim, ‘History Rising’. Six years on and history has most certainly ‘risen’.
Burj Dubai will soon be transformed into a vibrant community for thousands of residents, employees, hotel guests and tourists. Up to 12,000 people will live, work and play inside the world’s tallest building.
The tower is the focal point of the 500-acre master planned community Downtown Burj Dubai, which is widely described as the most prestigious square kilometre on earth.
Burj Dubai is the development’s crowing glory in every sense, a building that has pushed the boundaries of design and engineering further than many thought possible.
Excavation work for the tower began soon after the announcement of its launch, with more than 60 contractors and consultants joining forces on a project of unprecedented scale and ambition.
When construction work was at its most intense, more than 12,000 people from over 100 countries were working every day at the Burj Dubai site. In total, Burj Dubai took 22 million man hours to build.
Mr. Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, said Burj Dubai was a shining example of global collaboration. “Burj Dubai shows just what can be achieved when people from all over the world come together to strive for a common purpose.”
Standing at more than 800 metres (2,625 ft), Burj Dubai captivates audiences with its height. But its construction underground is equally worthy of fascination. More than 45,000 cubic metres (1.59 million cubic ft) of concrete, weighing more than 110,000 tonnes, make up the tower’s steel-reinforced foundations with 192 piles running to a depth of over 50 metres (164 ft).
Inspired by nature
Work on Burj Dubai’s superstructure began in March 2005, with the foundation work alone taking 12 months. The distinctive triple-buttressed outline of the Burj Dubai was inspired by the desert lily Hymenocallis.
Extensive seismic and wind tunnel testing was carried out to perfect the design of the tower. The triple-buttressed shape of Burj Dubai allows it to manage the effect of wind vortices generated around the tower, as well as changes in atmospheric pressure between its base and spire.
The main construction material of Burj Dubai is reinforced concrete, specially designed to withstand the staggering pressures inherent in the world’s tallest building. In total, Burj Dubai employs a record-breaking 330,000 cubic meters (11.6 million cubic feet) of concrete; 39,000 metric tonnes of reinforced steel; 103,000 sq m (1.1 million sq ft) of double glazed glass; and 15,500 sq m (166,800 sq ft) of embossed stainless steel.
Climbing to the sky
Once the lengthy construction work of its foundation was complete, the vertical ascent of Burj Dubai was surprisingly fast. The first 100 levels of the tower were completed only 1,093 days after excavation started. A level was added every three days before the uppermost levels of the tower were reached.
In November 2007, the concrete for the highest reinforced core walls of Burj Dubai was pumped from ground level to a height of 601 metres (1,978 ft), breaking the previous record for concrete pumping held by Taipei 101. The pressure generated during the pumping work reached nearly 200 bars.
A glass act
Work on the glass and aluminium exterior cladding of Burj Dubai started in May 2007 and was completed in September 2009. Nearly 400 skilled engineers were assigned to the project. At the outset, around 20-30 cladding panels were installed each day. The daily rate of installation reached 175 panels as the project neared completion. Burj Dubai has set a new world record for the highest installation of an aluminium and glass façade, at 512 metres (1,679.8 ft).
A staggering total of 24,348 panels cover a curtain wall area of 132,190 square metres (1.4 million sq ft). But the Burj Dubai’s shimmering exterior is designed to minimise heat transmission into the building itself, therefore saving energy. Condensation from the panels is also collected and used for landscape irrigation.
Pinnacle of achievement
Burj Dubai’s spire may resemble a needle at ground level, but in reality it is a colossal structure made up of 4,000 tonnes of structural steel. Nor is it exclusively ornamental, housing as it does communications equipment for the tower.
With a total built up area of around 6 million square feet, Burj Dubai is set to become a living, vibrant community in the heart of Dubai. Around 2 million square feet inside the tower is dedicated to luxury residential apartments, while more than 300,000 square feet is allocated for office space. That’s in addition to the sections of the tower taken up by the world-first Armani Hotel Dubai and the Armani Residences Dubai.
Countless artworks by prominent Middle Eastern and international artists, including sculptures and various contemporary installations, adorn the interiors of Burj Dubai and line Emaar Boulevard throughout Downtown Burj Dubai.
Life of luxuryA total of 57 elevators and eight escalators serve people living, working and enjoying their leisure time inside the tower. Burj Dubai has four swimming pools, a cigar lounge, residents’ lounge, the fine dining restaurant ‘At.mosphere’, and a variety of health and fitness facilities.
Moreover, the tower’s 124th floor observation deck, ‘At the Top, Burj Dubai’, offers 360-degree views of the city and is open to the public.
Burj Dubai features ‘The Offices’, a 12-storey annex of prime office space; ‘The Club’, a four-storey health and fitness centre; and ‘Armani/Pavilion’, an outdoor entertainment venue that opens onto the Burj Dubai Lake and The Dubai Fountain, described as the world’s tallest ‘performing fountain’.
Heart and soul
Visitors to the ‘At The Top, Burj Dubai’ observation deck can read the ‘I am Burj Dubai’ legend once they reach the ‘From the earth to the sky’, section of the tour.
Its opening stanza reads: “I am the power that lifts the world’s head proudly skywards, surpassing limits and expectations. Rising gracefully from the desert and honouring the city with a new glory, I am an extraordinary union of engineering and art, with every detail carefully considered and beautifully crafted…”
“I am the heart of the city and its people, the marker that defines Emaar’s ambition and Dubai’s shining dream. More than just a moment in time, I define moments for future generations…”
From the ‘‘From the earth to the sky’’, one can view Level 124 and the summit of Burj Dubai at a near vertical angle.
Bringing Burj Khalifa to life required a combination of visionary ideals and solid science. In the process, the project amassed an awe-inspiring number of facts, figures, and statistics.
At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records:
• Tallest building in the world
• Tallest free-standing structure in the world
• Highest number of stories in the world
• Highest occupied floor in the world
• Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
• Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
• Tallest service elevator in the world
Tallest of the Supertall
Not only is Burj Khalifa the world’s tallest building, it has also broken two other impressive records: tallest structure, previously held by the KVLY-TV mast in Blanchard, North Dakota, and tallest free-standing structure, previously held by Toronto’s CN Tower. The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has established 3 criteria to determine what makes a tall building tall. Burj Khalifa wins by far in all three categories.
While it is superlative in every respect, it is the unique design of Burj Khalifa that truly sets it apart. The centrepiece of this new world capital attracted the world’s most esteemed designers to an invited design competition.
Ultimately, the honour of designing the world’s tallest tower was awarded the global leader in creating ultra-tall structures, the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) with Adrian Smith FAIA, RIBA, consulting design Partner. The selected design was subject to an extensive peer review program to confirm the safety and effectiveness of the structural systems.
The architecture features a triple-lobed footprint, an abstraction of the Hymenocallis flower. The tower is composed of three elements arranged around a central core. The modular, Y-shaped structure, with setbacks along each of its three wings provides an inherently stable configuration for the structure and provides good floor plates for residential. Twenty-six helical levels decrease the cross section of the tower incrementally as it spirals skyward.
The central core emerges at the top and culminates in a sculpted spire. A Y-shaped floor plan maximizes views of the Arabian Gulf. Viewed from the base or the air, Burj Khalifa is evocative of the onion domes prevalent in Islamic architecture.
Over 40 wind tunnel tests were conducted on Burj Khalifa to examine the effects the wind would have on the tower and its occupants. These ranged from initial tests to verify the wind climate of Dubai, to large structural analysis models and facade pressure tests, to micro-climate analysis of the effects at terraces and around the tower base. Even the temporary conditions during the construction stage were tested with the tower cranes on the tower to ensure safety at all times.
Stack effect or chimney effect is a phenomenon that effects super-tall building design, and arises from the changes in pressure and temperature with height. Special studies were carried on Burj Khalifa to determine the magnitude of the changes that would have to be dealt with in the building design.
Concourse level to level 8 and level 38 and 39 will feature the Armani Hotel Dubai. Levels 9 to 16 will exclusively house luxurious one and two bedroom Armani Residences.
Floors 45 through 108 are private ultra-luxury residences. The Corporate Suites occupy fill most of the remaining floors, except for level 122 which houses a restaurant and level 124, the tower’s public observatory.
For the convenience of home owners, the tower has been divided in to sections with exclusive Sky Lobbies on Levels 43, 76 and 123 that feature state-of-the-art fitness facilities including a Jacuzzis on Level 43 and 76. The Sky Lobbies on 43 and 76 additionally house swimming pools and a recreational room each that can be utilized for gatherings and lifestyle events. Offering an unparalleled experience, both pools open to the outside offering residents the option of swimming from inside to the outside balcony.
Other facilities for residents include a Residents’ Library, and Burj Khalifa Gourmet Market, a gourmet convenience store and meeting place for the residents. Valet parking will be provided for guests and visitors.
The interior design of Burj Khalifa public areas was also done by the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and was led by award-winning designer Nada Andric. It features glass, stainless steel and polished dark stones, together with silver travertine flooring, Venetian stucco walls, handmade rugs and stone flooring. The interior were inspired by local cultural while staying mindful of the buildingís status as a global icon and residence.
Over 1,000 pieces of art from prominent Middle Eastern and international artists will adorn Burj Khalifa and the surrounding Emaar Boulevard. Many of the pieces were specially commissioned by Emaar to be a tribute to the spirit of global harmony. The pieces were selected as a means of linking cultures and communities, symbolic of Burj Khalifa being an international collaboration.
3000 underground parking spaces
7 January 2010
DUBAI – The Middle East’s largest listed developer Emaar Properties said on Thursday that it will realise revenues from the sale of properties at the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, formerly called Burj Dubai, in the financial year of 2010. Emaar, 31.2 percent owned by the Government of Dubai, had posted revenue of Dh1.95 billion in the third quarter of 2009. The company last year had tweaked its accounting system and said that it will recognize revenues from its projects only after successful delivery.
“As Emaar recognises revenue and profits on delivery of the project, the revenue relating to the units sold in Burj Khalifa will be recognised in 2010 on delivery. This will positively impact the results of the company due to the large size of the project,” it said in a statement posted on the website of the main stock market operator Dubai Financial Market, or DFM.
The statement said that revenue boost in 2010 will also come from hospitality undertakings in Burj Khalifa such as the world’s first Armani Hotel, a joint venture of the developer’s unit Emaar Hotels & Resorts with Italian luxury company Georgio Armani, and retail operations such as Over the Top.
“This additional revenue will also positively affect the company’s performance,” the statement said.
Burj Khalifa, renamed after the President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, opened to much fanfare on January 4, to coincide with the day when His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum took office four years ago as Ruler of Dubai. The $1.5-billion landmark glass-and-metal clad superscraper, which stands at the heart of a $20-billion downtown development close to Dubai’s main business district, is 90 per cent sold in a mix of residential units, offices and other space, the company’s Chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar had told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview earlier this week. Alabbar ahead of the official opening ceremony had said that the tower was expected to yield a surprisingly higher return of about 10 per cent for Emaar.
Emaar executives were bullish at the opening of the over 160-storey tower, which include 37 floors of office and retail space, saying that Dubai’s property prices have stabilised and than that new property completions would continue to increase over the next 18 months. Designed by Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the structure overtook Taipei 101 as the world’s tallest in February. Emaar aims to make the Downtown Burj Dubai area the city’s new centre, benefiting from the development’s proximity to the Dubai International Financial Centre, or DIFC, a tax-free business park that houses hundreds of international companies.
Emaar will start handing keys to its first residents of the 828-metre tower’s apartments and offices as early as February 2010. They will be the first of over 12,000 people who will live and work in the mixed-use tower comprising luxurious apartments, prime office space and exclusive hotels and restaurants. Emaar had sold most of the properties in the tower prior to its completion and much before the global financial crisis began. Many buyers in the residential part of the tower are wealthy individuals from the Middle East and the sub-continent who bought apartments as vacation homes or as an investment.
Dubai Does Not Need Branding’
6 January 2010
DUBAI — The naming of Burj Khalifa sends a clear message — of a united country, said the CEO of Brand Dubai. Mona Al Marri, of Brand Dubai — which was created after the city and the state of its economy attracted negative exposure in the foreign media during the global financial crisis — said the unwarranted bad publicity had damaged the city’s reputation. However, she said the naming of the tower as Burj Khalifa, which she said was a surprise for everyone, settled any questions. “It’s a good surprise – His Highness always likes to surprise us,” Al Marri said. “We are one country… Sometimes the international media don’t understand that. That’s the message Shaikh Mohammed has simply sent.” Al Marri said Dubai’s ‘brand’, as such, remained strong. “It does not need protecting – it needs somebody to keep an eye on it,” Al Marri said. “The response (Shaikh Mohammed’s message) is clear. Brand Dubai does not need to respond, but by really doing something, like these forums, by being active.” Al Marri hosted The Dubai Forum on Tuesday, focused on sustainable architecture, the day after the inauguration of the 828-metre tower. “We’re focused on coming up with initiatives that will help the city,” she said. “Dubai does not need branding… it needs content and good strong initiatives.
6 January 2010
DUBAI — How does an 828-metre tall tower withstand the force of wind at that height? How does one evacuate people from such heights during emergencies? What trend in urban architecture does Burj Khalifa signify?
The tallest tower in the world not only entered record books on Monday but now will make its way into many architecture and management classes as a case study. In fact universities in the UAE have already planned to incorporate it into their course modules.
“Burj Khalifa is a piece in the developing trajectory of tall buildings,” Professor Peter A. Di Sabatino, Dean of the School of Architecture and Design at American University of Sharjah (AUS), said. “With material and design advancement, buildings have increased in height and dimension over time. The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest and it is important to understand it from a historical perspective as well as a new piece in the trend,” he said.
George Katodrytis, Associate Professor at AUS points out the urban evolution, marked by high rise buildings in Dubai. “In 1969 the master plan that was developed for the emirate extended from the Bastakiya area into the desert,” he said. “In 1978, Trade Center was the tallest building in the Gulf, seeing a shift from the traditional fishing sector. “Then came the Emirates Towers and it is now interesting to see, in 2010- Burj Khalifa follows on the same lines. It is a symbol of that series.”
The tower that has been constructed by Emaar Properties is a catalyst that has created a vertical neighbourhood and beyond — including the 500-acre development at its base including Dubai Mall, according to the professor. Adrian Smith, designer of the Burj Khalifa said he tried to blend the Islamic and modern Western architecture for the tallest tower. Steps that move in an upward spiral and the view from the top or the base that evokes a shape like onion domes are influenced by Islamic architecture. The triple-buttressed outline of the Burj Khalifa was inspired by the desert lily Hymenocalli. The building was rotated 120 degrees by engineers, a deviation from the original design, to reduce stress from winds at such great heights. The tower also has a unique ‘intelligent elevator’ mechanism that marks the highest installation in any building and also provides a streamlined and speedy journey across floors.
Historically, high rise structures have served as office spaces or monuments but the Burj Khalifa has moved away from the conventional and made the tower residential as well. “The fact that it is residential is fascinating and is an amazing strategy, that makes it popular,” Katodrytis said.
Nabyl Chenaf, Chair of Architecture and Associate Professor of Architecture and Interior Design at the American University in Dubai, said the emirate is a paradise for architects. Building designs that do not follow a certain pattern or style make them remarkable case studies. Chenaf said the university plans to have workshops where students can interact with the specialist who worked on the Burj Khalifa. “It is quite an achievement in terms of civil engineering, dynamics and technical solutions,” he said.
Bringing together the thousands of workers to design and construct the tallest tower in the world is no easy feat and understanding how developers coordinated the project will be a lesson for management students at the British University in Dubai. “In case of a project like the Burj Khalifa, packaging is essential which means you get the best people to do different aspects of the project,” said Mohammed Dulaimi, Senior Lecturer for Project Management at the university.
6 January 2010
A day after its historic inauguration, the tallest building in the world — Burj Khalifa — received thousands of people at the observatory on its 124th floor on Tuesday. People started queuing up from early morning in Dubai Mall to buy tickets to catch the views from ‘At The Top’ observatory desk. Scheduled tickets for the first day visit, the sale of which started on Monday, were sold out before the first batch of visitors entered around 3pm. Many people purchased the tickets for immediate entry at more than double the price. Some tourists who had just one day left in Dubai said they were upset that they would not get a chance to go up to the observatory.
Burj Khalifa general manager Thomas M. Dempsey told Khaleej Times that several thousand people visited the tower on Tuesday. “As of now, we are almost fully booked for tomorrow too,” he said as more people started lining up at the counter in the evening.
The tallest man-made structure was not without a few teething problems. Visitors spotted a crack on a glass pane near the rest rooms which, Dempsey said, might have occurred when workers hit the glass pane with a ladder. “It’s not because of the wind. It’s something small. We’re getting it replaced tomorrow,” Dempsey said. The observatory restrooms were closed around 5 pm due to plumbing problems which were still being repaired at 6.30 pm.
Despite the hiccups, crowds, including children and the elderly, enjoyed the panoramic view of Dubai, spending time looking through the digital telescopes and marvelling at the sight from the open deck at the observatory. Many did not mind purchasing the highly priced souvenir items with the more familiar former name of the tower, ‘Burj Dubai’, engraved on them. “I don’t mind buying something from here as a memento even with the name of Burj Dubai. It’s for our memory, you know,” said Anita Vaswani from London. Dempsey said changing the name of the tower in the souvenirs and in the building itself will be a “slow process”. “But, we are happy to do it. It’s an honour and a pleasure to name the tower after the President. It shows the tower is not just about Dubai, it is about the whole UAE,” he said.
28 January 2010
Two aerobatics teams have made a spectacular fly-past over the southern emirates at the start of the second day of the internationally acclaimed event. The four-day show, which is being held at Al Ain International Airport every afternoon until Saturday, is the world’s only aerobatic spectacle that combines military and civil aircraft, stunt displays and competitions.
At 9.50am, the seven L-39 Albatros Breitling Team jets joined forces with the four BAC 167 Strikemasters of Team Viper, flying over Al Ain before heading towards Dubai. They passed over Burj Khalifa and Atlantis Hotel and then headed to the coast of Abu Dhabi, circling over the Emirates Palace Hotel and Grand Mosque and finally returning to Al Ain.
Although the Breitling Team has performed before at the Al Ain Aerobatic Show, this is the first time it has done so with seven member aircraft. Coincidentally, this will be the last year that they will be flying in this livery. Vipers also made their debut appearance this year. Faisal Al Sheikh, manager of the Major Event’s Division of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which is organising the event in coordination with the UAE Armed Forces, said a record 23 international teams from 15 countries are taking part in the show this year.
“Since its inception eight years ago, the show has gone from strength to strength. Not only are more teams from more countries competing, but there is also ever-growing interest from around the world, with visitors coming from as far away as Canada, the USA, Australia and Chile,” he said.
“Among the many highlights are a number of other firsts. For instance, the South African Goodyear Eagles Aerobatic Team are attempting a never-before-seen triple synchronised inverted parachute drop, while three aircraft perform a formation loop.
“For the first time, we also have on display an AH-64D Apache, four-blade, twin-engined attack helicopter belonging to the UAE’s Air Force and Air Defence, whilst the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) is making its international debut with two RBAF F16s demonstrating daily. Crowd favourites the Saudi Hawks — the Royal Saudi Air Force Aerobatics Team — are also performing a new, tight-formation flying routine
7 January 2010
DUBAI – Rose Rayhaan by Rotana is Dubai’s latest landmark as it entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest hotel in the world on Wednesday, just two days after the inauguration of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. It also is one of the first major hotel brands to open in Dubai as alcohol-free, a pitch aimed at catering to Middle Eastern families.
Towering near the Dubai International Financial Centre Metro Station, Rose Rayhaan is located on Shaikh Zayed Road, soaring up to 72 floors and to a height of 333 metres (1,093 feet). It has beaten the 330-metre Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang (1,083 feet) and Dubai’s own Burj Al Arab, which is 321 metres (1,035 feet) in height.
Omer Z. Kaddouri, senior vice-president, UAE Operations for Rotana, said the hotel had a Dh400 room rate and an occupancy rate of 65 per cent on the opening day. He expects the hotel to be full in the coming days, like its other hotels in the area during the New Year period. “We have four hotels operating near each other in this area, but they are not hurting each other,” Kaddouri said. Instead, they are feeding each other because each serves different clients, as they did during New Year and the opening of Burj Khalifa. “All of them are full.”
Dubai hotels have traditionally had high occupancy rates but in the past year, many reports have noted a decline. The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing maintains that during mid-last year, five-star beach hotels recorded 97 per cent occupancies, while five-star and four-star hotels in the city recorded 81 per cent occupancy rates.
However, STR Global, a research body, recorded a drop of 4.5 per cent compared with the 2008 occupancy rates in Dubai hotels — still the highest in the world. The group also found that Dubai had the highest average room rates at $361 compared with $295 in New York.
Naeem Darkazally, Rotana’s area director of Sales and Marketing for Dubai and Northern Emirates, told Khaleej Times that in 2009, there was only a 5 per cent across-the-board reduction in the market amidst the economic downturn. “But, hotels started correcting room rates to suit the demand for travellers leading to normal room rates that again saw the inventory increase in Dubai’s tourists,” Darkazally said.
“Rotana has reached out to guests from new markets in Eastern Europe, South America, Far East — like China and Malaysia and Hong Kong.” Darkazally said the hotel’s other USP was its panoramic view, which guests can see from the 65th floor. From there, the view goes beyond The Palm and Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Metro and the entire city on the other side.
“This is on top of the strategic location of the tallest hotel,” he said, referring to its proximity to Dubai Mall and the airport. Daniel Mathew, general manager of Rose Rayhaan, said it would be marketed as a hotel catering to GCC families and families looking for an alcohol-free hotel.
“With research indicating this category’s huge potential due to its inherent appeal in the Middle East, Rose Rayhaan is set for incredible growth in the coming years,” Mathew said. Although the hotel said it was the first to push this concept, at least one other company had caught on to the idea of “halal tourism”.
The Al Jawhara Hospitality Group, based in Dubai, has several hotels in the country that do not serve alcohol nor allow it on their premises and offer separate areas for men and women. Its general manager earlier told Khaleej Times that 60 to 70 per cent of its clientele were non-Muslims.
The construction of the $180 million Rose Rayhaan started in 2004 with Bonyan International Investment Group as its developer. The building was officially completed in 2009 with 482 rooms, suites and penthouses.
Many thanks to Sky Scraper City for their wonderful photos and Flicker