Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

Standing 828 meters high, the Burj Khalifa is hard to miss (Burj means Tower in Arabic). The World's tallest tower naturally dominates the Dubai skyline, but the true majesty of the building is best appreciated up close or, even better, from inside. On a clear day, the view from the observation deck on level 124 is absolutely stunning, topped only by that of the view from the luxurious At The Top Sky Lounge on the 148th floor. And for those who would like to linger for a meal in the clouds, At.mosphere on level 122 is the place to be. It is the world's highest restaurant, with stunning views and an equally stellar menu.

Burj Khalifa represents a union of art, engineering and heritage. It's home to thousands of meters of office space, 900 private residences, the 160-room Armani Hotel, and two observation decks "At the Top" and "At The TopSKY'. Burj Khalifa is also an art lover's paradise as there are more than 1,000 specially commissioned works of art from Middle Eastern and international artists throughout the building.

Bringing Burj Khalifa to life required a combination of visionary ideals and solid science. In the process, the project amassed an awe-inspiring number of facts, figures, and statistics.

At over 828 meters (2716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records since its official opening in January 2010:

  • Tallest building in the World.
  • Tallest free-standing structure in the World.
  • Highest number of stories in the World.
  • Highest occupied floor in the World.
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the World.
  • Elevator with the longest travel distance in the World.
  • Tallest service elevator in the World.

Design and Architecture

While it is superlative in every respect, it is the unique design of Burj Khalifa that truly sets it apart. The centerpiece of this new world capital attracted the world's most esteemed designers to an invited design competition. Ultimately, the honor of designing the world's tallest tower was awarded to the global leader in creating ultra-tall structures, the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) with Adrian Smith FAIA, RIBA, consulting design Partner. The selected design was subject to an extensive peer review program to confirm the safety and effectiveness of the structural systems.

The architecture features a triple-lobed footprint, an abstraction of the Hymenocallis flower. The tower is composed of three elements arranged around a central core. The modular, Y-shaped structure, with setbacks along each of its three wings provides an inherently stable configuration for the structure and provides good floor plates for residential. Twenty-six helical levels decrease the cross section of the tower incrementally as it spirals skyward. The central core emerges at the top and culminates in a sculpted spire. A Y-shaped floor plan maximizes views of the Arab Gulf. Viewed from the base or the air, Burj Khalifa is evocative of the onion domes prevalent in Islamic architecture.