The pride of Dubai, Burj Khalifa.

When it comes to the most famous buildings around the world, lots of examples strike our mind, but what’s the most common of all?

Let me guess, Is it Burj Khalifa? 80% of you might agree to this, because it’s the most fascinating building today, not only among the adults but among the fast-growing children. They might not be knowing what The leaning tower of Pisa is, or where is the Colosseum. But they know where this tallest building in the world right now is located and how it probably seems to be.

So giving a spark to this enthusiastic interest of people, the article is going to let you know everything about Burj Khalifa and its architecture.

Image by smarko from Pixabay

Burj Khalifa, previously known as Burj Dubai is a Postmodern Skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Well, why a skyscraper? Why not just a tall building? Good question. Let us first see the difference between a tall building and a skyscraper.

What do you think would be a tall building? Any structure with a good height, that we are easily able to identify with a quick view. But how do we know that the tall building is a skyscraper? To mark the difference between these two, we must know their characteristics.

What exactly is a Skyscraper?

For any building to be qualified as a skyscraper it should have a minimum height of 150m. (Burj Khalifa though goes up to a height of 828m) A fun fact about such tall structures is that they need a strong base to stand. In Skyscrapers, the base is built underground and is called a substructure. Whereas the building above the ground is said to be the superstructure. For these sky-high buildings to be strong enough to face the storms, the concrete used is strengthened with steel rods and beams making it the skeleton of the skyscraper. These types of buildings are most commonly used for offices, hotels, or other formal purposes. One most common feature of a Skyscraper is having curtain walls rather than that of load-bearing. Another confusion..what is the curtain wall? OK, have a look.

What are Curtain walls?

Generally, the outer wall or exterior of any structure is constructed on load-bearing walls, i.e, the one made with concrete or bricks to support the above structure lying onto it. But in Skyscrapers, instead of load-bearing walls, curtain walls are used which are made of steel, glass, and aluminum. These walls can either rest on a steel framework on the bottom of the building or could be suspended from above the building.

With some of these characteristics, we can say Burj Khalifa in Dubai is a skyscraper and not just a tall building.

This tallest building in the world has been made for mixed-use as it serves official, residential and hospitality purposes. The architectural style however used are as follows:

Modern architecture, contemporary architecture, Islamic architecture, futurist architecture, and high-tech architecture. 

What is Islamic architecture?

Image by apassingstranger from Pixabay
Image by Varun Kulkarni from Pixabay
Image by bouassa from Pixabay

Islamic architecture comprises the buildings associated with Islam. The early Muslim conquests initiated an urge to re-create an architectural style with new features inspired by Arabia. The minarets, muqarnas, and multiform arches were some great examples. The mosques, madrasas, tombs are some of the Islamic buildings known well, while some of the characteristics like onion domes, pointed arch, etc. are seen in the buildings today associated with Islamic architecture.

What is futurist architecture?

Image by Alex Ginard from Pixabay

Futurism in architecture developed in the early 20th century in Italy. Some of its noticeable characteristics are long dynamic lines, flow and motion in its structures, sharp edges, straight lines, domes, and so on.

Futuristic architecture brought in the use of angles, circular shapes, hanging slopes, domes, triangles, ovals, etc. which were denied in any of the previous architectural styles. It also embraced science and technology by replacing stairs with glass elevator/ escalators and using metal components in the buildings. Also, futurist buildings incorporate heavy use of white maintaining a clean and modern look.

The idea of Burj Khalifa was adapted from an abstract view of a desert flower and the patterns indicated in Islamic Architecture. The building is built using reinforced concrete and glass-clad which adds up to its beauty. The building, perhaps a hexagonal structure is designed in such a way that the effect of wind may not be so strong as it goes upward to its pinnacle. It is the world’s tallest building since the completion of its exterior in 2009 with a height of 828m (2,722 ft) and has a total of 163 stories in it. Previously, the building was named Burj Dubai which was renamed later, honoring the president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The building’s exterior has been made by the cladding of aluminum and stainless steel panels, vertical stainless steel fins, and more than 28,000 hand-cut glass panels. The foundation is made of reinforced concrete mat nearly 13ft thick, itself supported by concrete piles that are 5 feet in diameter. On its inauguration, it easily surpassed Taipai 101 in Taipei, Taiwan, which was previously the tallest building in the world with a height of 508 meters (1,667 ft).

The design of Burj Khalifa was done by Chicago-based Architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merill with Adrian Smith as an architect and William F. Baker as a structural engineer. With such proper planning, the structure took a total of 6 years to complete and was inaugurated on January 4th, 2010.

Little about the Architect:

Adrian Smith is an American Architect born and brought up in Chicago, Illinois. He has designed the tallest structure in the world ‘Burj Khalifa’ and working on another building projected to surpass it, “The Jeddah Tower”. Some other projects included The Trump international hotel and tower and the Zin mao tower in Shanghai.

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