Dubai 7: Burj Dubai

Burj Dubai (Photographer: dweekly/Flickr)
Burj Dubai, September 2007 (Photographer: dweekly/Flickr) (click-2-enlarge)

Chrome, that is the color of the Burj Dubai. Where the color on the renderings of the American architecture office Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) was already a shiny gray, the façade that is being build is even more polished. Like a mirror. Or better: Like reflective sunglasses. That could be a nice metaphor for the façade; sunglass.

The paradox can hardly be more extreme; to build a skyscraper totally clad in glass on a location with a temperature in August between 30 and 47.5 degrees Celsius. It is one of the hottest places on earth. No wonder all native Dubai fleas the city every summer for cooler cities like Geneva.

The designing of a glass façade that can withstand such heat must have been a great challenge, and the result is pretty dramatic. When looking at the amazing photographs that Imre Solt made for the special website that tracks the building process, it struck me that from the outside one really cannot look through the glass. Not even a bit. I know normally a glass façade doesn’t reveal that much either in daylight, but one can always recognize something like a curtain. Here there is just nothing.

It is said that the three-wing layout of the building has been inspired by the Hymenocallis flower, which can also be found in Dubai. A very contextual iconography. I can’t however suppress the thought that this concept is afterthought to sell the design to the public. It makes a nice story; it shows virtue. Maybe that is also element of architectural practice one should learn at school; making up afterthoughts!

With its current height of 600 meters the Burj Dubai is already the highest building on earth, the highest structure even. And that with concrete! I read though that the actual top of the building that contains an antenna is going to be made of steel. The exact height of the building when finished is yet to be officially revealed. It reads on Wikipedia that it will be 816 meters, but it might just be more. What suspense!

About the program of the Burj Dubai we know the first 37 floors will be occupied by the first Armani Hotel. The next 68 floors will house 700 apartments. Offices occupy the rest of the tower, about 57 floors. Furthermore the 123rd and 124th floor will be used as lobby and observation deck. A nice feature: on the 78th floor there will be an outdoor swimming pool. That is at a height of 200 meters!   

After saying: ‘It is the highest building on the globe’, there is not much more one can ask. It is one of those answers to all questions. The awe is just too much.

To disturb you just a last note: Look how the building-mass develops to create that height, getting step-by-step slimmer. In comparison the American skyscrapers look boxy, plump and fat. The Burj Dubai is slender and elegant. The future looks great!

And the glitter of the façade is indeed a tight representation of the glamour inside.

Burj Dubai (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)
Burj Dubai, October 2007 (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)

Burj Dubai, rendering (Copyright SOM)
Burj Dubai, rendering (Copyright SOM)

Burj Dubai (Photographer: Jarkko S/Flickr)
Burj Dubai (Photographer Jarkko S/Flickr)

 

Burj Dubai (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)
Burj Dubai, October 2007 (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)

Burj Dubai (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)
Burj Dubai, October 2007 (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)

 

Burj Dubai (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)
Burj Dubai, October 2007 (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)

Burj Dubai (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)
Burj Dubai, October 2007 (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)

Burj Dubai (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)
Burj Dubai, October 2007 (Copyright Imre Solt 2007)

 

I almost forgot… the afterthought:

Flower (Photograph: Wikipedia)
Flower (Photograph: Wikipedia)

Dubai 1: The story so far
Dubai 2: Palm Jumeirah
Dubai 3: Palm Jebel-Ali
Dubai 4: Palm Deira
Dubai 5: The World
Dubai 6: Burj Al Arab
Dubai 7: Burj Dubai
Dubai 8: Dubai Towers
Dubai 9: Dubai Renaissance
Dubai 10: The Cloud


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