The magnificent edifice Burj Khalifa, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the tallest building of the world.  Burj Khalifa is a very high structure with a height of 828 meters (2,717 feet).  It took around 5 years for the completion of the work of this tallest man-made structure.  Burj Khalifa was officially inaugurated on 4 January, 2010.  The building houses both commercial and apartment blocks.  This architectural marvel was designed by the construction engineering firm Skidmore, Owings and Merril of Chicago.  Adrian Smith was the chief architect of Burj Khalifa, under whose supervision the construction was completed.  It was Emaar Properties which undertook the construction of Burj Khalifa.

The construction cost of Burj Khalifa was around $1.5 billion.  Burj Khalifa won the 2010 Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa award.  This award is conferred by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and is considered an international honor in the construction industry.

BURJ KHALIFA, DUBAI, the Tallest Building in the World

BURJ KHALIFA, DUBAI, the Tallest Building in the World

This tallest building of the world has a unique structure.  The building Burj Khalifa has a unique design.   The structure houses 30, 000 homes, the 12-hectare (30-acre) man-made Burj Khalifa Lake, 19 residential towers, nine hotels such as The Address Downtown Dubai, 3 hectares (7.4 acres) of parking space and the Dubai Mall.

Historically, the Middle East was the location of tallest buildings and structures in the past.  With Burj Khalifa, the Middle East has again become prominent in architecture.  The Middle East had been the location of the tallest structure for centuries in the past.  The Great Pyramid of Giza is in the Middle East and for nearly 4000 years it had the singular distinction of being the tallest free-standing structure of the world.  Then in 1311 the Lincoln Cathedral of England superseded the Great Pyramid of Gaza.  Now, with the construction of Burj Khalifa, Middle East has again become the location of the tallest structure of the world.  This is part of the government policy of tourism promotion.  This is aimed at giving a new direction to the oil-dependent economy.

Cross-Section Comparison of Burj Khalifa with Similar Structures

Cross-section comparison


(1)  Burj Khalifa is the tallest extant structure: 828 m (2,717 ft) (It was KVLY-TV mast which had previously this record – 628.8 m/2,063 ft)

(2)  Burj Khalifa has the unique distinction of being the tallest man-made structure of the world.  The building has a height of 828 m (2,717 ft).   (Previously it was Warsaw radio mast which has a height of 646.38 m/2,121 ft)

(3)  Burj Khalifa is the tallest skyscraper to top of spire - 828 m (2,717 ft) (Taipai held this record previously - 101 – 509.2 m/1,671 ft)

(4)  Burj Khalifa has the world’s fastest elevators.  The elevators have a speed of 64 km/h (40 mph) or 18 m/s (59 ft/s).  Previously Taipei held this record (101 – 16.83 m/s)

(5)  Burj Khalifa’s another record is that it has the world’s highest elevator installation.  This elevator installation is erected inside a rod at the very top of the structure.

(6)  Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest free-standing structure: 828 m (2,717 ft) (Previously this record was held by CN Tower – 553.3 m/1,815 ft)

(7)  Burj khalifa has the highest occupied floor in the world.  The 160th floor of Burj Khalifa is occupied. 

(8)  Burj Khalifa has the record of being the world’s first tallest structure to include residential space.  

(9)  Burj Khalifa has the record of having the highest vertical concrete pumping (for a building): 606 m (1,988 ft).  Taipei held this record previously (101 – 449.2 m/1,474 ft).

(10)  Burj Khalifa has the world record in the number of floors (160 floors).  Willis Tower with 108 floors held this record previously.

(11)  Burj Khalifa has the highest outdoor observation deck in the world (124th floor) at 452 m (1,483 ft)

 (12)  Burj Khalifa has the record of having the world’s highest mosque.  It has a mosque on the 158th floor.

(13)  Another record of Burj Khalifa is that it has the world’s highest installation of an aluminum and glass façade.  It is at a height of 512 m (1,680 ft)

(14)  Another record of Burj Khalifa is that it has the world’s highest swimming pool (on the 76th floor).

 (15)  Burj Khalifa has another record of having the world’s highest vertical concrete pumping (for any construction): 606 m (1,988 ft).  Riva del Garda Hydroelectric Power Plant held this record previously (532 m/1,745 ft)

Hymenocallis, the Desert Flower

The desert flower, Hymenocallis

One significant aspect of Burj Khalifa is its unique architecture.  The building conforms to the Islamic architectural features.   Burj Khalifa is Y-shaped in its structure.  The Y-shaped construction makes it ideal for living because the special design affords maximum outside view and also sufficient air circulation.  The building has hotel accommodation and residential units.  As the building is in the Y-shape, the apartments and other blocks get sufficient natural light. 

The idea for the Y-shaped special design of BurjKhalif is derived from the shape of the desert flower Hymenocallis.  The building has the buttressed core system for the support of the excessive height and hence Burj Khalifa is more secure in spite of its height.   It has a hexagonal core reinforced by three buttresses.  This structure gives it the ‘Y’ shape. There is the hazard of the building being twisted because of the excessive height.  This special pattern in design protects the building from the danger of twisting.

It is a matter of amusement that as part of decoration, a collection of more than 1,000 pieces of art is arranged in unique artistic taste inside Burj Khalifa.  As a special effect, the work of Jaume Plensa is arranged in the residential lobby of Burj Khalifa.  As another unique feature, 196 bronze and brass alloy cymbals are arranged.  These cymbals represent 196 countries of the world.  The spot is memorable for the distinct timbre of the sound of water falling on leaves.

The Opening Ceremony of Burj Khalifa

opening ceremony(45854)

Burj Khalifa has amazing accommodation capacity.  The structure can accommodate up to 35,000 people at any given time.  There are 57 elevators and 8 escalators which ensure the easy passage of visitors.   A flight of 2,909 stairs provides additional passage facility for Burj Khalifa.  These arrangements make it easy for visitors to reach up to the 160th floor of this architectural marvel.  A major attraction of Burj khalifa is the Dubai Fountain.

The Dubai Fountain


The fountain itself is an engineering marvel.  It was constructed at a cost of Dh 800 million (US$217 million). It was WET Design, the California-based firm which undertook the construction work of the Dubai Fountain.  Burj Khalifa features the special Observation Desk called ‘At the Top’.  This observation desk has the Behold Telescope.   This has the special significance of being the highest outdoor observation deck in the world.  The Burj Khalifa Park is a special attraction of the building.  The park has an extent of 11 ha (27 acres).   There are palm-lined walkways, gardens and flowering trees which make the park a very special spot.






(4)  "'Spiderman' Alain Robert scales Burj Khalifa in Dubai".

(5)  "Two billion to watch Burj Dubai opening". Maktoob Business.