Burj Khalifa

skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Burj Khalifa (Arabic: برج خليفة, "Khalifa Tower") is an extremely tall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates named after Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and is the tallest building ever built, at 828 metres (2,717 feet). Before the building opened, it was called Burj Dubai. The building is 162 stories high. Construction of the tower was started on 6 January 2004, and the building was officially opened on 4 January 2010, almost 6 years later.[2][3] It is the tallest structure made by humans in the world. The building is more than 300 metres (980 feet) taller than Taipei 101. Taipei 101 was the tallest building until 2010 before Burj Khalifa was built.

Burj Khalifa
برج خليفة
Former namesBurj Dubai
Record height
Tallest in the world since 2010[I]
Preceded byTaipei 101
General information
Architectural styleNeo-futurism
Address1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard
CountryUnited Arab Emirates
Coordinates25°11′49.7″N 55°16′26.8″E / 25.197139°N 55.274111°E / 25.197139; 55.274111Coordinates: 25°11′49.7″N 55°16′26.8″E / 25.197139°N 55.274111°E / 25.197139; 55.274111
Named forSheikh Khalifa
Construction started6 January 2004 (2004-01-06)
Topped-out17 January 2009
Completed1 October 2009 (2009-10-01)
Opened4 January 2010
CostUS$1.5 billion
OwnerEmaar Properties
Architectural828 m (2,717 ft)
Tip829.8 m (2,722 ft)
Top floor584.5 m (1,918 ft)
Observatory555.7 m (1,823 ft)
Technical details
Structural systemReinforced concrete, steel, and aluminium
Floor count154 + 9 maintenance
Floor area309,473 m2 (3,331,100 sq ft)
Design and construction
ArchitectAdrian Smith
Architecture firmSkidmore, Owings & Merrill
Structural engineerBill Baker
Main contractorSamsung C&T
Other information
Parking2 subterranean levels

Adrian Smith designed the tower.[4] He worked with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) until 2006.[5] It was built by Samsung Engineering & Construction, Besix, and Arabtec.[6] The tower cost US $1.5 billion to build.[7] The building is part of a 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) building project on Sheikh Zayed Road, Downtown Burj Khalifa. It is near Dubai's main business district.

The building and planningEdit

Burj Khalifa compared to some other tall structures.

The main contractor was Samsung C&T of South Korea. They also built the Taipei 101 and Petronas Towers.[8] Other contractors who helped with the building included Belgian group Besix and Arabtec from the UAE. The Turner Construction Company was chosen as the construction project manager.[9]

The design architect, Adrian Smith, did not like the first design of the upper part of the building. He added 27 new floors and an aluminium spire to the top of the plans. The design of Burj Khalifa based on those used in Islamic architecture. Burj Khalifa has been said to have had several other planned height increases since it was first built. This has not been proven to be true yet. The TV/radio communications mast was added to the tower's plans in 2007. This was after building work had begun in 2006. There are pressurized, air-conditioned refuge floors about every 35 floors. These were put into the tower in case of an emergency or fire.[10]

The unusual design and engineering problems of building Burj Khalifa have been shown in many television documentaries. These include the Big, Bigger, Biggest series on the National Geographic and Five channels, and the Mega Builders series on the Discovery Channel.

The most important building material of Burj Khalifa is reinforced concrete. A special concrete was needed because of the high pressures of the building's weight and the hot local climate of Persian Gulf temperatures that can reach 50 °C (122 °F). Any major cracks could have caused a large amount of damage to the building.

The foundation of the building is 15 metres (49 feet) deep. It was built with 192 columns being put into the ground. Each column was 1.5 metres (4 feet 11 inches) in diameter and 43 metres (141 feet) long.[11] 55,000 tonnes (121,000,000 pounds) of steel rebar was used in the construction of the tower. It took 22 million man-hours to build.[12] A high density, low permeability concrete was used in the foundations of Burj Khalifa. A cathodic protection system is used to lessen any bad effects from corrosive chemicals in local ground water.

The Dubai FountainEdit

The Dubai Fountain performing to the song "Bassbor Al Fourgakom"

A fountain system was built outside the tower. It was designed by WET Design of California. They built and planned out the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel Lake in Las Vegas. The fountain cost UAEd 800 million. It is lit by 6,600 lights and 50 coloured projectors. The fountain is 84 metres (275 feet) long. It shoots water 46 metres (150 feet) into the air to the sounds of classical and modern Arabic and world music.[13] On 26 October 2008, the fountain was named the Dubai Fountain.[14]

Delays and late building workEdit

Emaar Properties said on 9 June 2008 that construction of Burj Khalifa was slowed because of changes to finishes. An Emaar official said that the luxury finishes that were decided on in 2004, when the tower was first planned, were being being replaced by better finishes. The design of the apartments were also made better. This was done to make them both look better and work better.[15] There were problems with the marble decorations, flooring, the top floors' sanitation system, broken glasswork and a poorly done wall mural of the Sultan of Oman. A new ending date of 2 December, 2009, was then given.[16] Burj Khalifa opened on 4 January 2010.[17][18]

Workers' disputes and strikes.Edit

Burj Khalifa was built mainly by people from South Asia.[19][20] Press reports said in 2006 that skilled carpenters at the site earned UK£4.34 a day, and labourers earned UK£2.84.[19] According to a BBC investigation and a Human Rights Watch report, the workers lived in very bad conditions. Often they were not paid for the work. Their passports were taken by their employers. It was said that they were working in dangerous conditions that caused high number of deaths and injuries.[21] Companies not paying workers has been reported to the authorities several times.

On 21 March 2006, about 2,500 workers protested. They were mad about buses that were delayed for the end of their shifts. They damaged cars, offices, computers, and construction equipment.[19] A Dubai Interior Ministry official said they caused almost UK£500,000 in damage.[19] Most of the workers who were part of the riot returned the following day but refused to work.[19]

Records setEdit

A cartoon animation of the construction process.

The building is not only the tallest building in the world, it also holds the following records-

  • Tallest skyscraper to top of spire: 828 m (2,717 ft) (previously Taipei 101 – 509.2 m (1,671 ft))
  • Tallest structure ever built: 828 m (2,717 ft) (previously Warsaw radio mast – 646.38 m (2,121 ft))
  • Tallest freestanding structure: 828 m (2,717 ft) (previously CN Tower – 553.3 m (1,815 ft))
  • Building with most floors: 160 (previously Willis Tower – 108)[22]
  • World's highest elevator installation[23]
  • Highest vertical concrete pumping (for a building): 606 m (1,988 ft)[24] (previously Taipei 101 – 449.2 m (1,474 ft))
  • Highest vertical concrete pumping (for any construction): 606 m (1,988 ft)[24] (previously Riva del Garda Hydroelectric Power Plant – 532 m (1,745 ft)[25])
  • The first world's tallest structure in history to include residential space[26][11]
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world (126th floor), at about 440 m (1,440 ft).[27]
  • World's highest installation of an aluminum and glass façade, at a height of 512 m (1,680 ft).
  • World's highest swimming pool (125th floor)[28]
  • Worlds highest restaurant (128th floor)[29]



Preceded by
Warsaw Radio Mast
646.38 m (2,120.67 ft)
World's tallest structure ever built
2008 – Present
Preceded by
KVLY-TV mast
628.8 m (2,063 ft)
World's tallest structure
2008 – Present
Preceded by
CN Tower
553.33 m (1,815.39 ft)
World's tallest free-standing structure
2007 – Present
Preceded by
Taipei 101
509.2 m (1,670.6 ft)
World's tallest building
2009 – Present
Preceded by
Sears Tower
108 floors
Building with the most floors
2007 – Present


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  2. "Official Opening of Iconic Burj Dubai Announced". Gulf News. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  3. "World's tallest building opens in Dubai". BBC News. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  4. "EMAAR Press Release - Burj Dubai reaches a record high, Dubai, UAE, July 21, 2007". Archived from the original on 29 December 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  5. "Architect Magazine: Adrian Smith Leaves SOM, Longtime Skidmore partner bucks retirement to start new firm".
  6. Burj Dubai - SkyscraperPage.com
  7. "What to see". Dubai Travel Desk. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  8. "Burj Dubai, Dubai". SkyscraperPage. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
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  10. Puckett, Katie (3 October 2008). "Burj Dubai: Top of the world". Building. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
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  12. "EMAAR Press Release - Burj Dubai reaches a record high, Dubai, UAE, July 21, 2007". Archived from the original on 29 December 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  13. "Emaar brings world-class water, light and music spectacle to Burj Dubai Lake". Emaar Properties. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  14. "'Dubai Fountain' is winning name of Emaar's water spectacle in Downtown Burj Dubai". Emaar Properties. 26 October 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  15. Das Augustine, Babu (9 June 2008). "Burj Dubai completion delayed by another eight to nine months". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 13 June 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  16. "Burj Dubai opening date announced". Homes Overseas. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
  17. "Official Opening of Iconic Burj Dubai Announced". Gulf News. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  18. "World's tallest building opens in Dubai". BBC News. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Whitaker, Brian (23 March 2006). "Riot by migrant workers halts construction of Dubai skyscraper". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2006.
  20. "Burj Dubai opens tomorrow, final height still a secret!". The Hindu. 3 January 2010. Archived from the original on 7 January 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  21. "Behind the Glamorous Facade of the Burj Khalifa". Migrant-Rights.org. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  22. "Willis Tower". Emporis. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  23. "Some interesting facts on the Burj Dubai". The Tallest Buildings in the World. 19 August 2008. Archived from the original on 22 June 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Putzmeister – Burj Dubai". Putzmeister. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  25. "1994 – World record: 532 m high - rise concrete conveying at the power station "Riva del Garda", Italy". Putzmeister. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
  26. "Penthouse living in the world's tallest building". The National. September 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  27. "'At The Top' - Burj Dubai's Observation Deck". BurjDubai.com. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  28. Burj Khalifa Fact Sheet
  29. Highest restaurant opens at Dubai's Burj Khalifa

Other websitesEdit