Its construction started in 2004, and the exterior was fully completed 5 years later, in 2009. A year after its completion, Burj Khalifa opened doors, being an integral part of the new development in Dubai- Downtown Dubai.
Basically, the UAE are known to the world for their fortunes gained from the international oil market. It is believed that the government decided to set off on this gigantic structural initiative not only to demonstrate a diversification from the oil economy, but to be internationally recognized, too.
Burj Khalifa, the numerous height records breaker, is a popular tourist destination as it is a mixed-use development of leisure, residential, commercial areas and a Giorgio Armani hotel. The residential and the hotel units in the building are strategically positioned in the Y-shaped plan, which facilitates the best possible view over the Arabian Gulf.
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), who also designed the highest building in the USA Willis Tower, combined art, expertise and experience in order to create the newest architectural giant. The 162-storey building contains patterns inspired by the local Islamic architecture, culture and history(e.g the spiral minaret), combined with modern technological approaches in order to gain the highest achievement of performance in the extremely delicate desert environment. The upper floors are designed to provide a magnificent view, and the ground floors offer greenery, water fountains and facilities, and wide boulevards, yet easily accessible to pedestrians.
How is construction performed at such extreme heights? A mass scaled structure such as Burj Khalifa is supported by buttressed core structure to enable height achievements.
How are the high atmospheric temperatures overcome? The hostile hot summer temperatures are challenged by the usage of the cladding system.
The world’s tallest skyscraper is furnished with 57 elevators, enabling to transport 12 to 14 people each, and 8 escalators.
The groundbreaking artificial height of Burj Khalifa is not the only thing that baffles the public. The highest tower has been erected by means of structurally efficient plans in order to avoid excessive overuse of material and managed reduced waste. For one thing, the highly positioned cooler and less humid air is harnessed in the ventilation system on the top levels of the megatall structure. For another, the skyscraper also employs the biggest and most powerful system of condensate recovery.
The massive structure of the tallest tower in the world implies the existence of a huge interior area, whose design has been taken into account from the very beginning of planning. More than 3 million square feet of inner space has been perfectly organized, applying the subtle combination of structural challenges, height record breaker awareness and local heritage preservation.
As Burj Khalifa houses residential and business spaces, positioned at the highest levels ever, the top floors design is influenced by the celestial and spacecraft concept.
The ground and lower floors, on the other hand, are touched by the notion of the land natural elements. The interior design includes polished stones, glass materials, comfortable handmade rugs and other features constraining luxury.
The unique structure of Burj Khalifa has been recognized world-wide, having received many awards and broken many records. The only controversial issue is related to the poor living and labour conditions for the workers, who are reported to have received low payments, having in mind the grandeur of the Burj Khalifa project as a whole.
Yet, the majestic gigantic structure of Burj Khalifa, which can be seen from a distance of 95 km, has been unrivalled, for the time being.