Burj Dubai opens

Monday 04 Jan 2010

World's tallest building opens for business

Burj Dubai, renamed Burj Khalifa in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi who came to Dubai’s rescue during its financial crisis, is currently the world’s tallest building. Designed by the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), the tower measures 828 metres from its base to the tip of its spire and has been recognised as the world’s tallest in all four categories determined by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), which compiles and ranks the world’s tallest buildings.

Anthony Wood, CTBUH Executive Director, said: “The Burj Dubai opening marks the culmination of an incredible technical and architectural adventure. Never before has the world’s tallest building been exceeded by another building by more than approximately 60 metres, but here we see the realisation of a building more than 300 metres taller than the previous record holder. It is also the first time that a predominantly residential building has taken the title, though a residential function actually lends itself better to achieving great height if that is the driving force for the project (smaller floor plates, fewer elevators required, etc).” When asked to comment on the sustainability of the superscraper, Wood added: “Denser cities are an important part of the solution to combat energy use/climate change, and tall buildings have a role to play in that. It is perhaps unfair to judge a building conceived almost a decade ago by today’s fast-changing environmental-technological standards and it is thus in the concentration of population on smaller footprints of land that Burj Dubai contributes to the debate on creating more sustainable patterns of life.”

The Burj Dubai sits at the centre of a large scale, mixed-use development comprised of residential, commercial, hotel, entertainment, shopping and leisure outlets with open green spaces, water features, pedestrian boulevards, a shopping mall and a tourist-oriented old town. The design of the tower combines historical and cultural influences with cutting-edge technology to achieve a high-performance building. Its massing is manipulated in the vertical dimension to induce maximum vortex shedding and minimize the impact of wind on the tower's movement.

George Efstathiou, SOM Managing Partner for the project, commented, “Becoming the world’s tallest free-standing structure is a pretty big deal, especially since the CN Tower held this record for more than three decades.”

Bill Baker, SOM Structural Engineering Partner, added: “We invented a new structural system, the ‘Buttressed Core’, that enabled us to reach these heights economically. SOM is known for our experience with super-tall buildings such as the Sears Tower in Chicago and Jin Mao in Shanghai. The goal of the Burj Dubai, though, is not simply to be the world’s tallest building; it’s to embody the world’s highest aspirations. Working on the Burj Dubai is a huge accomplishment for everyone involved with the project.”

Laura Paton

Key Facts:

Commercial Offices Residential

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team