The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, opened in 2010, has a height of 828m with a super fast elevator to the 125th and 148th floor (555m) for a breathtaking view of Dubai. Burj Khalifa was designed to lift the spirits of a nation and to bring joy and inspiration to its citizen. Supertall towers are landmarks for Green Cities and are symbols in the same way the Eiffel Tower and other special tall projects heavily influenced cities like Paris, New York, etc. Architect Adrian Smith, who designed Burj Khalifa, is the world’s most experienced designer of supertall buildings. Currently he is the designer of three of the world’s top 10 tallest completed buildings: Burj Khalifa in Dubai (#1), Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago (#7, at 423 meters) and Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai (#8, at 421 meters).
Burj Khalifa (35,000 people) includes luxury condominiums, the world’s first Armani hotel with ballroom and support amenities, meeting facilities, 50,000 sm of luxury office space, restaurants, health club, spa, outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, the world’s highest public observatory, three floors for communications equipment, 6 mechanical floors and 3,000 parking spaces. The tower’s gross area is over 300,000 sm above grade, a total of 450,000 sm including below-grade levels.
Skyscrapers such as Burj Khalifa are sustainable because they accommodate a large number of people on a small footprint, which helps save agricultural land from development and reduce carbon emission associated with commuting to and from suburbs. They also offer efficient vertical and horizontal transportation systems, encouraging the use of public transit and creating increasingly walkable cities.
- Oasis: 11-hectare green oasis surrounding the foot of the tower which will be irrigated using an innovative condensate collection system.
- Cooling: Condensation from the building’s cooling equipment is recovered providing an estimated 15 million gallons of water a year.
- Window washing: Maintaining the building’s exterior wall led to the design of a system that incorporates over a dozen specialized mechanized units at several levels of the tower.
- Other: High-efficiency lighting, reduction in urban heat island effect with large water features and extensive landscaping above the garage podium roofs, and use of a site-wide gray-water system for irrigation including recovered condensate.
- Wind: Gravity is important, but equally important are the forces created by wind. These forces properly designed in this building’s structure mitigate the cause of sickness for occupants (I have not felt any), eliminate the building’s torsional movement or twisting motion.
- Sewage: Many tall buildings in Dubai are not connected to a municipal sewage system therefore trucks take the sewage out of buildings and wait in a queue to put it into a waste water treatment plant.
- Financing: The building has faced financial difficulties since it began construction in 2004; the project could only be completed when the Abu Dhabi royal family granted the project a $20 billion bailout. In 2012, 80% of the luxury apartments were occupied, but 20 floors worth of office spaces remained unoccupied. Today has the building archieved its ROI?
Participants: Fisher Marantz Stone (lighting), Speirs & Major (festival lighting), Sinclair Knight Merz (security systems), Pelton Marsh Kinsella International (acoustics and ELV systems), Square Peg Design (signage), Hyder Consulting (civil and structural design) and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (the gatehouses and Armani/Pavillion).