An ambitious project, though a bit ill timed but still, a standout in the world is Burj Khalifa or the Burj Dubai as it was before the inauguration took place in 2009. Standing tall at a height of 829.8 metres, it is the tallest man made structure of the world.
Built as a part of Dubai’s 2 sq kilometre Downtown project, the Burj Khalifa was engineered and built by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago and contains both residential and commercial spaces. As the project neared completion Dubai faced the financial crisis of 2007-2012 and in order to tackle the huge debts it had incurred in the creation of the building the country had to borrow help from its rich neighbour Abu Dhabi. It was in order to appreciate this help that the name of the Tower was partially dedicated to the President of UAE Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and was named as Burj Khalifa.
The design of the Burj Khalifa is inspired from Islamic Architecture and has used about 4,000 tonnes of steel to build just the spires. The interior part of the building has been adorned with about 1000 pieces of art. The interior of the building is also equipped with claddings that can handle the extreme heat of Dubai. Though, during the time of the financial crisis it was reported that the rents in the Burj Khalifa went down and 825 out of the 900 apartments were also left vacant. But, as time progressed, a number of foreign investors bought apartments and office spaces and by 2012 it was reported that the occupancy rose to 80%.
One of the initial four hotels of Armani is situated in the first 15 floors of the Burj Khalifa while the 43rd and 76th floors, called the sky lobbies, have swimming pools in them. As some floors up till the 108th floor give way to about 900 residential apartments, the rest of the floors above, except for the 122nd, 123rd, and 124th are given to corporate offices. The three floors which are left out are home to the At.mosphere restaurant and also include the observatory deck.
Apart from its structure and size, the other features of Burj Khalifa which act as a tourist attraction are the Dubai Fountain, the observation deck which is open air and is located on the 124th floor of the building and is decked with telescopes to have a panoramic view of the entire Dubai city, and the Burj Khalifa Park which is situated on 27 acres of land. In addition to all these, there is also the neighbouring Dubai Mall. The Burj Khalifa building is also used for adventurous sports like BASE jumping and climbing.
Being such a popular global structure, the Burj Khalifa has also received its share of media attention by getting featured in films like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. It is also a standard venue of the New Year’s Eve fire display thus making it even more popular.