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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Birth of the First Super Skyscraper

With the completion of the Dubai Tower (Burj Dubai in Arabic) it seems, Sheikh Mohammed’s soaring vision for the emirate approaches its zenith: to be the world’s leader in every endeavour – be it ski slopes in the desert, man-made islands or super-skyscrapers.

The sky-piercer’s precise height will be revealed at its opening ceremony tomorrow, however architects involved have hinted it could be towering over 820m. The colossal structure is in a league of its own, estimated to beat its closest inhabited rival, Taiwan’s Taipei 101 (standing at an impressive 510m) by over half the former record-holder’s height and will become undisputedly the highest structure ever constructed by man anywhere!

The spaceship-like building transverses several climatic zones and the temperature atop this 169-story monolith of modern architecture is at least 6 °C lower than at its base. In full bloom, Burj Dubai is estimated to shelter about 25,000 people at any one time. The tower is home to 900 private apartments (which, the developer claims, sold out within 8 hours of hitting the market despite being tagged at ~US $40 000/m2), interior design by Giorgio Armani. The first of the Italian designer’s planned 4 hotels will also be located on 15 floors of Burj Dubai and other hotels, with 5 – 7 star rating will likewise be housed here. Other planned marvels include: on the 76th floor, the highest swimming pool in the world and the most elevated place of worship (a mosque on the 158th floor).

Built in just over 5 years since construction began on September 21 2004, this breathtaking building is part of a 2 km2 development called "Downtown Burj Dubai" near Dubai's main business district. Adrian Smith is the tower's chief architect and the primary builder is a joint venture of South Korean Samsung C&T, who also built the Taipei 101 and Petronas Twin Towers. The total budget for the Burj Dubai project is about US $4.1 billion; and for the entire new "Downtown Dubai", US $20 billion.

Another note-worthy crown jewel of the Downtown Burj Dubai is the amazing 218 million US$ Dubai Fountain. It is 275 meters long, longer than two football fields and 25 % larger than the Fountains of the Bellagio in Nevada. Pushing up 83,000l of water into the air, shooting jets of water as high as 150 meters! The lake is festooned with over 6,600 lights and 25 colour projectors. The beam from the fountain is visible over 20 miles away and from 200 miles up in space, making it the brightest spot in the Middle East, and perhaps the entire world.

Investors may still be reeling from the 50% crash in property prices, but doubtlessly, all involved in the realization of this tremendous architectural achievement are waiting with anticipation as their baby is set to create history on the morrow.

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