Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Burj Dubai: The Superscraper

There is a new World's Tallest Building: Burj Dubai.

The £1 billion Burj Dubai is at least 2,683ft from its base to the tip of its spire — that’s more than half a mile, the equivalent of three-and-a-half Canary Wharf towers or two Empire State buildings stacked up. Its final height is being kept secret until tomorrow, but architects who have worked on the building have hinted it could break the 2,700ft mark.

The scale of this thing just blows my mind.  Two Empire State Buildings?

We have written about Dubai here on the blog.  The bursting of the bubble might impact the superscraper's occupancy rates and its ultimate profitability, but simply as a building achievement it seems noteworthy. 

However full the building turns out to be, it is an undoubted engineering triumph. Summer temperatures of up to 50C, desert dust storms and the tower’s extreme height forced builders to go to extraordinary lengths to complete the job. Surveyors had to take their measurements just before dawn when the building was “at rest” — not expanding in the heat of day or contracting in the cool hours of night.

Yes, but is it green?  Opinions differ. 

Environmentalists have criticised the building’s power consumption.

But . . . .

The Chicago-based architects, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, deny the claim. “Tall buildings are inherently energy- efficient because they are high-density,” said Bill Baker, chief structural engineer. He described the Burj as an affirmation of the power and importance of tall buildings following the 9/11 attacks that brought down the World Trade Center in New York. “It’s a symbol of optimism. It says, ‘We believe in the future’.”

At any rate, the world has a new Tallest Building this New Year.

Matt Festa


Architecture, Density, Development, Green Building | Permalink

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