Burj Khalifa

Dubai challenges logic. UAE’s Dubai witnessed the launch of the world's tallest building; the Burj Khalifa.

The 828m (2,717 foot) tower shows off the world's highest swimming pool and mosque. It is based on the structural design of a 'buttressed core' in order to reach this height, which has been not used for any towers before inspite of its fabulous simplicity. The structure of the tower is a symmetrical Y form, and each one of the three sides of the Y represents a buttress for the other two sides. Each side is also set back in a group of steps that develop in a spiral around the tower, making the elegant organic-looking spire that gives the Burj its unique profile. Wonderfully designed by the Chicago firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrell, the Burj Khalifa is inspired not only by minarets and desert flowers, but also by Frank Lloyd Wright's 1956 plans for the Illinois Sky-City in Chicago.

The Burj Khalifa is a pursuit of the superlative for superlative's sake like many towers in Dubai. It is much taller than its neighboring buildings. This is a piece of land that set out to make itself, as its advertising hoardings claimed early in construction, 'the most exciting two square kilometers on the planet', while there remains undeveloped desert a few hundred meters away.

The buttressed core with its spiraling setbacks give relatively little floor space in the upper levels, and so less commercial return on height compared with its blockier peers; but they give the floor-plan shape of a three-petaled desert flower, as well as the vertical spiral, that give the building's form symbolic as well as aesthetic beauty.

Before and during construction, the building was called the Burj Dubai Tower. The surrounding area was to have been known as Downtown Burj Dubai. But at Monday night's launch, the name was abruptly changed to Burj Khalifa, in honor of the president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Some Arabs criticize the building as resentment at Dubai's presumption in setting itself up as a world city, but on the other hand, Dubai is privileged to be able to build something of this scale and design it with such priorities, and in the Burj Khalifa it has used that privilege well. 

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