Located in the city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, the construction for the building started in January 2004 and was completed in December 2009. It was part of the new 490 acre development called Downtown Dubai, along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai’s business district.
The Burj Khalifa is the pinnacle of skyscraper engineering. Designed by the American Architectural Firm Skidmore, Owings and Merill of Chicago, who also designed the Willis Tower in Chicago and the new One World Trade Center in New York City. The chief architect was Adrian Smith and the chief structural engineer was Bill Baker. Because of advancements in structural engineering, using tubular design, the Burj Khalifa actually uses half the steel that was used in the Empire State Building‘s construction. This bundled tube design was invented by Fazlur Khan, who first applied this technique to the Willis Tower. The construction was done by Samsung Engineering & Construction of South Korea that worked on (what was once) the second tallest man made structure in the world, the Taipei Tower.
The exoskeleton of the Burj was designed to withstand high winds. Highly advanced aerodynamics were used. With tall buildings, air rushes around them and forms mini tornadoes called vortexes. In order to fight the wind, the architects decided to instead deceive the wind. This is why the tower has such a unique shape. Each side of the building is designed to deflect wind in a different way thereby disrupting the vortexes that form. The spiral look of the Burj was purposely added to the design because of its roots in Islamic architecture and incorporates cultural and historical elements.
The inside of the Burj is just as impressive as its outside. It houses the famed Armani Hotel, sky lobbies, swimming pools, 900 residential units that sold out within 8 hours of being on the market, and over 1,000 pieces of art adorn the interior of the Burj Khalifa. You can admire its beauty in the 2011 movie Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol that filmed many scenes inside the tower. Remarkable, visionary, and a record maker, the Burj Khalifa marks the beginning of a neo-futuristic era in architecture that just a few decades ago was a thing of science fiction.