The worlds tallest building opened in a blaze of fireworks, parachute jumps and shooting streams of water from the world's tallest fountain.
At an estimated cost of $1.5 billion, the Burj Khalifa took five years to build, is more than 160 floors high and has comfortably surpassed the previous record holder in Taiwan, the Taipei 101.
More than 12,000 people will occupy its 6 million square feet, zooming up and down in 54 elevators that can reach speeds of 40 miles an hour.
It will have the world's highest mosque, on the 158th floor; the world's highest swimming pool, on the 76th floor; the highest observation deck, on the 124th floor; and the first hotel by the fashion designer Armani. Burj Khalifa also claims to hold several other world records, including: tallest free-standing structure in the world (previously held by Toronto's CN Tower); elevator with the longest travel distance in the world and most number of stories in the world.
The Burj Dubai is so tall that one can see it from 100 kilometers (63 miles) inland and sailors can see it from the ocean, 50 nautical miles out in the Gulf. The tower is so enormous that the air temperature at the top is up to 8 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) lower than at the base.
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.
"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.
The tower that has been constructed by Emaar Properties is a catalyst that has created a vertical neighborhood 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. As it tapers upward, one of the three lobes is shifted slightly backward about every eight floors, an effect that is reminiscent of an Islamic spiral minaret and provides the tower with 26 terraces. The triple-buttressed outline of the Burj Khalifa was inspired by the desert lily. 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.
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.
Dubai was little more than a sleepy fishing village a generation ago, but has boomed into the Middle East's commercial hub in the past two decades on the back of business-friendly trading policies, security, and vast amounts of overseas investment.
Ref: Burj Khalifa Design a Case Study in Varsities by Afshan Ahmed. Khaleej Times
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