Dubai is synonymous with Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. This tower is a real modern phenomenon that just doesn’t stop to marvel and challenge the human mind and the possibilities. It is natural for our reactions to differ when we see something for the first time and when we see it again for the thousandth time. But there is nothing natural or ordinary about this skyscraper. After years of staying here and seeing it for innumerable times, like many, I still find it astonishing. No matter how many pictures I take of it, it just isn’t enough. To my eyes, it looks different at every period of the day (my most favorite being at sunset).
The design of the building was inspired by the Hymenocallis flower and it took six years to construct it. It was officially opened in January 2010. The height of the building was kept a secret until the opening day. It is 828 m and it is said that the spire of the building can be seen from up to 95 kilometers away. The burj (tower) is almost 200 m taller than the second tallest building in the world, the Shanghai Tower (632 m). It is a fact that the temperature at its top floors is 6 degrees cooler than the ground floor at any given point.
Burj Khalifa holds a series of World Records including:
- Tallest freestanding structure
- Tallest skyscraper
- Highest occupied floor (163 floors)
- Highest outdoor observation deck (148th floor)
- Elevator with longest travel distance
- Tallest service elevator in the world
- Highest nightclub: 144th floor
- Highest restaurant (At.mosphere) (122nd floor)
The building was to be called Burj Dubai but was renamed Burj Khalifa in honor of the ruler of Abu Dhabi, HH Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The tower is a mini luxury city in itself, with private residences, hotels, corporate offices, restaurants, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, health clubs, a library and even a mosque. The world’s biggest mall, The Dubai Mall, is just a few steps away. The burj has 58 functional elevators that run at a high speed of 10 meters per second. Dubai is very specific with its safety issues and being a forerunner at that, the building is equipped with specialized elevators and exits to evacuate its occupants at times of emergency.
During its peak construction, 12000 workers were engaged daily in the project. In total, it took 22 million work hours to make it stand. There is a very popular but unsubstantiated story about an Indian crane operator who lived inside a crane at the top for months because it took too much time to get down from his post. Upon completion this man is said to have been awarded a UAE citizenship and paid a huge sum of money. It is most probably just a hoax but it is still an interesting story.
Burj Khalifa is surrounded by a 27-acre park at its base. The park is covered with grass and plants that can bear the hot climate of the region and is irrigated by water collected from the building’s cooling system (15,000,000 imp gal annually). The skyscraper requires a supply of 250,000 gallons of water each day. It is also estimated that its daily total electricity consumption is equivalent to the electricity consumed by 360,000 bulbs of 100-watt each burning at the same time.
No hype about Burj Khalifa is exaggerated. They say ‘see it to believe it’ but it is unbelievable that man built such an amazingly tall inhabitable structure. It is really a ‘Wonder’ mankind ought to feel proud of.