Construction of the Burj Khalifa began in 2004, with the exterior completed 5 years later in 2009. The primary structure is reinforced concrete. The building was opened in 2010 as part of a new development called Downtown Dubai. It is designed to be the centerpiece of large-scale, mixed-use development. The decision to build the building is reportedly based on the government’s decision to diversify from an oil-based economy, and for Dubai to gain international recognition.
The building was named in honor of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Abu Dhabi and the UAE government lent Dubai money to pay its debts. The building broke numerous height records, including its designation as the tallest tower in the world.
Burj Khalifa was designed by Adrian Smith, then of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill , whose firm designed the Willis Tower and One World Trade Center. Hyder Consulting was chosen to be the supervising engineer with NORR Group Consultants International Limited chosen to supervise the architecture of the project. The design of Burj Khalifa is derived from patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture, incorporating cultural and historical elements particular to the region, such as in the Great Mosque of Samarra.
The Y-shaped plan is designed for residential and hotel usage. A buttressed core structural system is used to support the height of the building, and the cladding system is designed to withstand Dubai’s summer temperatures. It contains a total of 57 elevators and 8 escalators.
Critical reception to Burj Khalifa has been generally positive, and the building has received many awards. However, the labor issues during construction were controversial, since the building was built primarily by workers from South East Asia, who were allegedly treated poorly.
- More than 45,000cu meters of concrete has been poured into the foundations.
- The 700 Private apartments in the building were sold within eight hours of going on the market.
- Dubai Mall covers an area of more than 50 soccer pitches.