Burj Khalifa - architectural work of genius, or crazy ego trip?
face unique challenges. No wonder
architect liability insurarance is
man-made structure in the world stands in Dubai, UAE. At 829.8 m,
the Burj Khalifa redefined what it meant to push the architectural
envelope. It is the epitome of what technology can do and a showcase
of how far architecture and engineering have come. Construction
started in 2004 and ended in 2010. Since then, the Burj Khalifa has
become the symbol of the UAE. There are a few Islamic influences in
the design in a bid to stay true to the culture of the region. The
design of the building was by architect Adrian Smith.
The construction of the Burj Khalifa was about enhancing the
development of Downtown Dubai. Dubai has significantly gone up the
ranks in economic development. Famous for its rich oil fields, Dubai
continues to excel as a commercial hub. The building also provides
connections to mass transit systems, and that facilitates the
economic activities of the region. Predominantly, the tower houses
office, hotel and residential space.
Dubai strived to become one of the top tourist spots in the world,
and the Burj Khalifa got it a rung higher up that ladder. The
building attracted a lot of attention from the world over, and most
tourists to Dubai visit the building.
The Construction and its Challenges
The design of the building was in a Y shape, and that was meant to
make good use of the space available. The tri-axial shape consists
of three separate wings that meet at the core. Another advantage of
this design is that residential spaces could get a maximum view
without neighbouring units overlooking each other. The residential
units, hotel and office space, are in the separate wings whilst the
core holds the lifts. To provide for the mechanical function of the
building, there are five mechanical zones about 30 floors apart.
Undoubtedly, the biggest challenge that the architect and engineers
faced was making a structure that would respond favourably to the
wind. The solution to this problem was incorporating upward
spiraling setbacks at the edge of each wing. By doing this, the
structure decreased in mass as it gained height. At every different
floor plate, the setbacks provide a different width, which reduces
the wind force.
There were numerous wind tunnel tests to check the structural
integrity of the building. With its slenderness, there were concerns
over its ability to stand up to wind forces. The data from these
tests guided architects and engineers on how to structure the
The height of the Burj Khalifa required a strong support and that is
how engineers came up with the concept of “buttressed core”. It was
vital to include concrete walls of premium performance to form a
stable base. There are corridor walls that extend from the core and
tie the wind buttresses together forming a stiff structure.
Another issue that architects and engineers had to bear in mind was
the extremely hot temperatures in Dubai, especially in the summer.
To counter that, the spandrel panels were made of textured steel and
the cladding was done with aluminium.
The Burj Khalifa sought to break world records, and it did. With the
use of modern technology, the building is a work of genius in every
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