Amazing Engineering: The Burj Khalifa

The World’s tallest building is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, this monster structure takes over from the Tokyo Skytree as the biggest self supporting structure in the World beating it by almost 700ft. The Burj Khalifa stands at 2,722ft and it was completed in 2009. The building is an incredible feat of engineering and construction, anyone in the business of large-scale construction, people in the know like Lisa Dudzik will tell you just how difficult a building like this is to construct. Let’s take a look in more detail at this incredible building.


The Beginnings

The building was conceived as part of a plan called Downtown Dubai, a series of infrastructure projects that the government commissioned in order to turn to Dubai into an iconic city, away from its oil-based reputation. The idea to create the new tallest building in the World was very deliberate, as was the decision to name it in honor of ruler of Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E. Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.


The structure was designed by architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, more specifically by Adrian Smith. The design is inspired heavily by Islamic architecture using patterns and symbols that can be found throughout the Islam world. Much of the elements of the Burj Khalifa’s design can be seen in great mosques such as the Great Mosque of Samarra.

The Build

 The building of the Burj Khalifa began in 2004 and finished in 2009, an incredibly quick build for such a structure. The main structure of the building is reinforced concrete, 330,000m to be exact, the building also used 55,000 tonnes of steel and took over 22 million man hours to complete. The contractors for the job, South Korean firm Samsung C&T, had to have brand new, cutting edge equipment and machinery designed for this job such was intricacy and uniqueness of the build.

The Final Article

The building officially opened on January 4th 2010, it has 157 usable floors that are filled with office and residential space, the office space in the building is around $4,000 per square meter per month. There are 900 apartments in the Burj Khalifa and despite not selling many in the first year, they now have an occupancy level of around 80%. The building has done wonders for tourism in the city, as has the whole ‘Downtown Dubai’ project, it looks like it’ll be a while before this structure is beaten. In 2010 the Burj Khalifa was given the award for the ‘Best Tallest Building’ with CTBUH Awards Chairman Gordon Gill saying:

“There was discussion amongst members of the jury that the existing ‘Best Tall Building of the Yearaward was not really appropriate for the Burj Khalifa. We are talking about a building here that has changed the landscape of what is possible in architecture a building that became internationally recognized as an icon long before it was even completed. ‘Building of the Centurywas thought a more appropriate title for it.”

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