World’s tallest building. A living wonder. Stunning work of art. Incomparable feat of engineering. Burj Khalifa is all that. In concept and execution, Burj Khalifa has no peer. More than just the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa is an unprecedented example of international cooperation, symbolic beacon of progress, and an emblem of the new, dynamic and prosperous Middle East.
It is also tangible proof of Dubai’s growing role in a changing world. In fewer than 30 years, this city has transformed itself from a regional centre to a global one. This success was not based on oil reserves, but on reserves of human talent, ingenuity and initiative. Burj Khalifa embodies that vision.
Mr Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, said: “Burj Khalifa goes beyond its imposing physical specifications. In Burj Khalifa, we see the triumph of Dubai’s vision of attaining the seemingly impossible and setting new benchmarks. It is a source of inspiration for every one of us in Emaar. The project is a declaration of the emirate’s capabilities and of the resolve of its leaders and people to work hand in hand on truly awe-inspiring projects.
Emaar had but one inspiration, the unflagging enthusiasm set in motion by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who inspires us to reach for the stars. Bringing Burj Khalifa to life required a combination of visionary ideals and solid science. In the process, the project amassed an awe-inspiring number of facts, figures, and statistics.
Burj Khalifa (Arabic: برج خليفة, “Khalifa tower”), known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is the tallest man-made structure in the world, at 829.8 m (2,722 ft).
Construction began on 21 September 2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009. The building officially opened on 4 January 2010, and is part of the new 2 km2 (490-acre) development called Downtown Dubai at the ‘First Interchange’ along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai’s main business district. The tower’s architecture and engineering were performed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago, with Adrian Smith as chief architect, and Bill Baker as chief structural engineer. The primary contractor was Samsung C&T of South Korea.
In March 2009, Mohamed Ali Alabbar, chairman of the project’s developer, Emaar Properties, said office space pricing at Burj Khalifa reached US$4,000 per sq ft (over US$43,000 per m²) and the Armani Residences, also in Burj Khalifa, sold for US$3,500 per sq ft (over US$37,500 per m²). He estimated the total cost for the project to be about US$1.5 billion.
The project’s completion coincided with the global financial crisis of 2007–2012, and with vast overbuilding in the country; this led to high vacancies and foreclosures. With Dubai mired in debt from its huge ambitions, the government was forced to seek multibillion dollar bailouts from its oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi. Subsequently, in a surprise move at its opening ceremony, the tower was renamed Burj Khalifa, said to honour the UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his crucial support.
Because of the slumping demand in Dubai’s property market, the rents in the Burj Khalifa plummeted 40% some ten months after its opening. Out of 900 apartments in the tower, 825 were still empty at that time. However, over the next two and a half years, overseas investors steadily began to purchase the available apartments and office space in Burj Khalifa. By October 2012, Emaar reported that around 80% of the apartments were occupied.
“Burj Khalifa is the Arab world’s tribute to the art and science of modern engineering and design. Burj Khalifa symbolizes the aesthetic unison of many cultures – from Arabia and the rest of the world.”
- At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records:
- Tallest building in the world
- Tallest free-standing structure in the world
- Highest number of stories in the world
- Highest occupied floor in the world
- Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
- Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
- Tallest service elevator in the world
- Tallest of the Supertall
Not only is Burj Khalifa the world’s tallest building, it has also broken two other impressive records: tallest structure, previously held by the KVLY-TV mast in Blanchard, North Dakota, and tallest free-standing structure, previously held by Toronto’s CN Tower. The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has established 3 criteria to determine what makes a tall building tall. Burj Khalifa wins by far in all three categories.
Height to architectural top
Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building. This includes spires, but does not include antennae, signage, flagpoles or other functional-technical equipment. This measurement is the most widely used and is used to define the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat rankings of the Tallest Buildings in the World.
Highest occupied floor
Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest continually occupied floor within the building. Maintenance areas are not included.
Height to tip
Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest point of the building, irrespective of material or function of the highest element. This includes antennae, flagpoles, signage and other functional-technical equipment.
Like petals from a stem, the tower’s wings extend from its central core.
No stranger to Middle Eastern design, architect Adrian Smith incorporated patterns from traditional Islamic architecture. But his most inspiring muse was a regional desert flower, the Hymenocallis, whose harmonious structure is one of the organizing principles of the tower’s design.
Architecture and Design
The tower was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, who also designed the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago and the new One World Trade Center in New York City. The Burj Khalifa uses the bundled tube design, invented by Fazlur Rahman Khan. Proportionally, the design uses half the amount of steel used in the construction of the Empire State Building thanks to the tubular system. Its design is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision for The Illinois, a mile high skyscraper designed for Chicago. According to Marshall Strabala, an SOM architect who worked on the building’s design team, Burj Khalifa was designed based on the 73 floor Tower Palace Three, an all residential building in Seoul. In its early planning, Burj Khalifa was intended to be entirely residential.
Subsequent to the original design by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Emaar Properties chose Hyder Consulting to be the supervising engineer with NORR Group Consultants International Limited chosen to supervise the architecture of the project. Hyder was selected for its expertise in structural and MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) engineering. Hyder Consulting’s role was to supervise construction, certify SOM’s design, and be the engineer and architect of record to the UAE authorities. NORR’s role was the supervision of all architectural components including on site supervision during construction and design of a 6-storey addition to the Office Annex Building for architectural documentation. NORR was also responsible for the architectural integration drawings for the Armani Hotel included in the Tower. Emaar Properties also engaged GHD, an international multidisciplinary consulting firm, to act as an independent verification and testing authority for concrete and steelwork
The spiral minaret at the Great Mosque of Samarra
The design of Burj Khalifa is derived from patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture. According to the structural engineer, Bill Baker of SOM, the building’s design incorporates cultural and historical elements particular to the region such as the spiral minaret. The spiral minaret spirals and grows slender as it rises. The Y-shaped plan is ideal for residential and hotel usage, with the wings allowing maximum outward views and inward natural light. As the tower rises from the flat desert base, there are 27 setbacks in a spiralling pattern, decreasing the cross section of the tower as it reaches toward the sky and creating convenient outdoor terraces. At the top, the central core emerges and is sculpted to form a finishing spire. At its tallest point, the tower sways a total of 1.5 m (4.9 ft).
To support the unprecedented height of the building, the engineers developed a new structural system called the buttressed core, which consists of a hexagonal core reinforced by three buttresses that form the ‘Y’ shape. This structural system enables the building to support itself laterally and keeps it from twisting.
The spire of Burj Khalifa is composed of more than 4,000 tonnes (4,400 short tons; 3,900 long tons) of structural steel. The central pinnacle pipe weighing 350 tonnes (390 short tons; 340 long tons) was constructed from inside the building and jacked to its full height of over 200 m (660 ft) using a strand jack system. The spire also houses communications equipment.
In 2009, architects announced that more than 1,000 pieces of art would adorn the interiors of Burj Khalifa, while the residential lobby of Burj Khalifa would display the work of Jaume Plensa, featuring 196 bronze and brass alloy cymbals representing the 196 countries of the world. It was planned that the visitors in this lobby would be able to hear a distinct timbre as the cymbals, plated with 18-carat gold, are struck by dripping water, intended to mimic the sound of water falling on leaves.
The exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa consists of 142,000 m2 (1,528,000 sq ft) of reflective glazing, and aluminium and textured stainless steel spandrel panels with vertical tubular fins. The cladding system is designed to withstand Dubai’s extreme summer temperatures. Additionally, the exterior temperature at the top of the building is thought to be 6 °C (11 °F) cooler than at its base. Over 26,000 glass panels were used in the exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa. Over 300 cladding specialists from China were brought in for the cladding work on the tower.
A 304-room Armani Hotel, the first of four by Armani, occupies 15 of the lower 39 floors. The hotel was supposed to open on 18 March 2010, but after several delays, it finally opened to the public on 27 April 2010. The corporate suites and offices were also supposed to open from March onwards, yet the hotel and observation deck remained the only parts of the building which were open in April 2010.
The sky lobbies on the 43rd and 76th floors house swimming pools. Floors through to 108 have 900 private residential apartments (which, according to the developer, sold out within eight hours of being on the market). An outdoor zero-entry swimming pool is located on the 76th floor of the tower. Corporate offices and suites fill most of the remaining floors, except for a 122nd, 123rd and 124th floor where the At.mosphere restaurant, sky lobby and an indoor and outdoor observation deck is located respectively. In January 2010, it was planned that Burj Khalifa would receive its first residents from February 2010.
Burj Khalifa can accommodate up to 35,000 people at any one time. A total of 57 elevators and 8 escalators are installed. The elevators have a capacity of 12 to 14 people per cabin, the fastest rising and descending at up to 10 m/s (33 ft/s) for double-deck elevators. However, the world’s fastest single-deck elevator still belongs to Taipei 101 at 16.83 m/s (55.2 ft/s). Engineers had considered installing the world’s first triple-deck elevators, but the final design calls for double-deck elevators. The double-deck elevators are equipped with entertainment features such as LCD displays to serve visitors during their travel to the observation deck. The building has 2,909 stairs from the ground floor to the 160th floor.
The graphic design identity work for Burj Khalifa is the responsibility of Brash Brands, who are based in Dubai. Design of the global launch events, communications, and visitors centers for Burj Khalifa have also been created by Brash Brands as well as the roadshow exhibition for the Armani Residences, which are part of the Armani Hotel within Burj Khalifa, which toured Milan, London, Jeddah, Moscow and Delhi.
The architecture features a triple-lobed footprint, an abstraction of the Hymenocallis flower. The tower is composed of three elements arranged around a central core. The modular, Y-shaped structure, with setbacks along each of its three wings provides an inherently stable configuration for the structure and provides good floor plates for residential. Twenty-six helical levels decrease the cross section of the tower incrementally as it spirals skyward.
The central core emerges at the top and culminates in a sculpted spire. A Y-shaped floor plan maximizes views of the Arabian Gulf. Viewed from the base or the air, Burj Khalifa is evocative of the onion domes prevalent in Islamic architecture.
While it is superlative in every respect, it is the unique design of Burj Khalifa that truly sets it apart. The centrepiece of this new world capital attracted the world’s most esteemed designers to an invited design competition.
Ultimately, the honour of designing the world’s tallest tower was awarded to the global leader in creating ultra-tall structures, the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) with Adrian Smith FAIA, RIBA, consulting design Partner. The selected design was subject to an extensive peer review program to confirm the safety and effectiveness of the structural systems.
Wind Tunnel Testing
Over 40 wind tunnel tests were conducted on Burj Khalifa to examine the effects the wind would have on the tower and its occupants. These ranged from initial tests to verify the wind climate of Dubai, to large structural analysis models and facade pressure tests, to micro-climate analysis of the effects at terraces and around the tower base. Even the temporary conditions during the construction stage were tested with the tower cranes on the tower to ensure safety at all times.
Stack effect or chimney effect is a phenomenon that effects super-tall building design, and arises from the changes in pressure and temperature with height. Special studies were carried on Burj Khalifa to determine the magnitude of the changes that would have to be dealt with in the building design.
Concourse level to level 8 and level 38 and 39 will feature the Armani Hotel Dubai. Levels 9 to 16 will exclusively house luxurious one and two bedroom Armani Residences.
Floors 45 through 108 are private ultra-luxury residences. The Corporate Suites occupy fill most of the remaining floors, except for level 122 which houses At.mosphere and level 124, the tower’s public observatory, At the Top, Burj Khalifa. For the convenience of home owners, the tower has been divided in to sections with exclusive Sky Lobbies on Levels 43, 76 and 123 that feature state-of-the-art fitness facilities including a Jacuzzis on Level 43 and 76. The Sky Lobbies on 43 and 76 additionally house swimming pools and a recreational room each that can be utilized for gatherings and lifestyle events. Offering an unparalleled experience, both pools open to the outside offering residents the option of swimming from inside to the outside balcony. Other facilities for residents include a Residents’ Library, and Lafayette Gourmet, a gourmet convenience store and meeting place for the residents. Valet parking is provided for guests and visitors.
The interior design of Burj Khalifa public areas was also done by the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and was led by award-winning designer Nada Andric. It features glass, stainless steel and polished dark stones, together with silver travertine flooring, Venetian stucco walls, handmade rugs and stone flooring. The interiors were inspired by local culture while staying mindful of the building’s status as a global icon and residence.
Over 1,000 pieces of art from prominent Middle Eastern and international artists adorn Burj Khalifa and the surrounding Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard. Many of the pieces were specially commissioned by Emaar to be a tribute to the spirit of global harmony. The pieces were selected as a means of linking cultures and communities, symbolic of Burj Khalifa being an international collaboration.
Building a Global Icon
Excavation work began for Burj Khalifa in January 2004 and over the ensuing years to its completion, the building passed many important milestones on its goal to become the tallest man-made structure the world has ever seen. In just 1,325 days since excavation work started in January, 2004, Burj Khalifa became the tallest free-standing structure in the world.
Burj Khalifa Construction TimelineJanuary 2004 Excavation started
February 2004 Piling started
March 2005 Superstructure started
June 2006 Level 50 reached
January 2007 Level 100 reached
March 2007 Level 110 reached
April 2007 Level 120 reached
May 2007 Level 130 reached
July 2007 Level 141 reached – world’s tallest building
September 2007 Level 150 reached – world’s tallest free-standing structure
April 2008 Level 160 reached – world’s tallest man-made structure
January 2009 Completion of spire – Burj Khalifa tops out
September 2009 Exterior cladding competed
January 2010 Official launch ceremony
Over 45,000 m3 (58,900 cu yd) of concrete, weighing more than 110,000 tonnes were used to construct the concrete and steel foundation, which features 192 piles buried more than 50 m (164 ft) deep. Burj Khalifa’s construction will have used 330,000 m3 (431,600 cu yd) of concrete and 39,000 tonnes (43,000 ST; 38,000 LT) of steel rebar, and construction will have taken 22 million man-hours.
Exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa began in May 2007 and was completed in September 2009. The vast project involved more than 380 skilled engineers and on-site technicians. At the initial stage of installation, the team progressed at the rate of about 20 to 30 panels per day and eventually achieved as many as 175 panels per day. The tower accomplished a world record for the highest installation of an aluminium and glass façade, at a height of 512 metres. The total weight of aluminium used on Burj Khalifa is equivalent to that of five A380 aircraft and the total length of stainless steel bull nose fins is 293 times the height of Eiffel Tower in Paris.
In November, 2007, the highest reinforced concrete corewalls were pumped using 80 MPa concrete from ground level; a vertical height of 601 metres. Smashing the previous pumping record on a building of 470m on the Taipei 101; the world’s second tallest tower and the previous world record for vertical pumping of 532 metres for an extension to the Riva del Garda Hydroelectric Power Plant in 1994. The concrete pressure during pumping to this level was nearly 200 bars. The amount of rebar used for the tower is 31,400 metric tons – laid end to end this would extend over a quarter of the way around the world.
Burj Khalifa was truly an international collaboration between more than 30 on-site contracting companies from nations around the world. At the peak of construction, over 12,000 workers and contractors were on site everyday, representing more than 100 nationalities.
Structural Elements — Elevators, Spire, and More
It is an understatement to say that Burj Khalifa represents the state-of-the-art in building design. From initial concept through completion, a combination of several important technological innovations and innovation structural design methods have resulted in a superstructure that is both efficient and robust.
The superstructure is supported by a large reinforced concrete mat, which is in turn supported by bored reinforced concrete piles. The design was based on extensive geotechnical and seismic studies. The mat is 3.7 meters thick, and was constructed in four separate pours totaling 12,500 cubic meters of concrete. The 1.5 meter diameter x 43 meter long piles represent the largest and longest piles conventionally available in the region. A high density, low permeability concrete was used in the foundations, as well as a cathodic protection system under the mat, to minimize any detrimental effects form corrosive chemicals in local ground water.
The podium provides a base anchoring the tower to the ground, allowing on grade access from three different sides to three different levels of the building. Fully glazed entry pavilions constructed with a suspended cable-net structure provide separate entries for the Corporate Suites at B1 and Concourse Levels, the Burj Khalifa residences at Ground Level and the Armani Hotel at Level 1.
The exterior cladding is comprised of reflective glazing with aluminum and textured stainless steel spandrel panels and stainless steel vertical tubular fins. Close to 26,000 glass panels, each individually hand-cut, were used in the exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa. Over 300 cladding specialists from China were brought in for the cladding work on the tower. The cladding system is designed to withstand Dubai’s extreme summer heat, and to further ensure its integrity, a World War II airplane engine was used for dynamic wind and water testing. The curtain wall of Burj Khalifa is equivalent to 17 football (soccer) fields or 25 American football fields.
In addition to its aesthetic and functional advantages, the spiraling “Y” shaped plan was utilized to shape the structural core of Burj Khalifa. This design helps to reduce the wind forces on the tower, as well as to keep the structure simple and foster constructability. The structural system can be described as a “buttressed core”, and consists of high performance concrete wall construction. Each of the wings buttress the others via a six-sided central core, or hexagonal hub. This central core provides the torsional resistance of the structure, similar to a closed pipe or axle. Corridor walls extend from the central core to near the end of each wing, terminating in thickened hammer head walls. These corridor walls and hammerhead walls behave similar to the webs and flanges of a beam to resist the wind shears and moments. Perimeter columns and flat plate floor construction complete the system. At mechanical floors, outrigger walls are provided to link the perimeter columns to the interior wall system, allowing the perimeter columns to participate in the lateral load resistance of the structure; hence, all of the vertical concrete is utilized to support both gravity and lateral loads. The result is a tower that is extremely stiff laterally and torsionally. It is also a very efficient structure in that the gravity load resisting system has been utilized so as to maximize its use in resisting lateral loads.
As the building spirals in height, the wings set back to provide many different floor plates. The setbacks are organized with the tower’s grid, such that the building stepping is accomplished by aligning columns above with walls below to provide a smooth load path. As such, the tower does not contain any structural transfers. These setbacks also have the advantage of providing a different width to the tower for each differing floor plate. This stepping and shaping of the tower has the effect of “confusing the wind”: wind vortices never get organized over the height of the building because at each new tier the wind encounters a different building shape.
The crowning touch of Burj Khalifa is its telescopic spire comprised of more than 4,000 tons of structural steel. The spire was constructed from inside the building and jacked to its full height of over 200 metres (700 feet) using a hydraulic pump. In addition to securing Burj Khalifa’s place as the world’s tallest structure, the spire is integral to the overall design, creating a sense of completion for the landmark. The spire also houses communications equipment.
Seven double-storey height mechanical floors house the equipment that bring Burj Khalifa to life. Distributed around every 30 storeys, the mechanical floors house the electrical sub-stations, water tanks and pumps, air-handling units etc, that are essential for the operation of the tower and the comfort of its occupants.
Window Washing Bays
Access for the tower’s exterior for both window washing and façade maintenance is provided by 18 permanently installed track and fixed telescopic, cradle equipped, building maintenance units. The track mounted units are stored in garages, within the structure, and are not visible when not in use. The manned cradles are capable of accessing the entire facade from tower top down to level seven. The building maintenance units jib arms, when fully extended will have a maximum reach of 36 meters with an overall length of approximately 45 meters. When fully retracted, to parked position, the jib arm length will measure approximately 15 meters. Under normal conditions, with all building maintenance units in operation, it will take three to four months to clean the entire exterior facade.
Broadcast and Communications Floors
The top four floors have been reserved for communications and broadcasting. These floors occupy the levels just below the spire.
Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing
To achieve the greatest efficiencies, the mechanical, electrical and plumbing services for Burj Khalifa were developed in coordination during the design phase with cooperation of the architect, structural engineer and other consultant. The tower’s water system supplies an average of 946,000 litres (250,000 gallons) of water daily. At peak cooling, Burj Khalifa will require about 10,000 tons of cooling, equal to the cooling capacity provided by about 10,000 tons of melting ice. Dubai’s hot, humid climate combined with the building’s cooling requirements creates a significant amount of condensation. This water is collected and drained in a separate piping system to a holding tank in the basement car park
The condensate collection system provides about 15 million gallons of supplement water per year, equal to about 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The tower’s peak electrical demand is 36mW, equal to about 360,000 100 Watt bulbs operating simultaneously
Fire safety and speed of evacuation were prime factors in the design of Burj Khalifa. Concrete surrounds all stairwells and the building service and fireman’s elevator will have a capacity of 5,500 kg and will be the world’s tallest service elevator. Since people can’t reasonably be expected to walk down 160 floors, there are pressurized, air-conditioned refuge areas located approximately every 25 floors.
Inspired by Burj Khalifa’s unique triple-lobed shape, The Park’s 11 hectares of greenery and water features serve as both entry to Burj Khalifa and outdoor living space. The landscape design includes three distinct areas to serve each of tower’s three uses: hotel, residential and office space. These exquisite grounds include a promenade along the Dubai lake, outdoor spaces, outdoor dining, prow lookout, leisure forest grove, playing area, water features and much more.
The three spaces are located at the hotel entry, residential entry and the grand terrace. The tower and pedestrian pathways link the three areas. Spectacular stone paving patterns welcome visitors at each entry. The main entry drive is circled with a palm court, water features, outdoor spaces and a forest grove above. The grand terrace features garden spaces, all-around pedestrian circulation, custom site furnishings, a functional island and a lake edge promenade. The grand water terrace is composed of several levels that step down towards the lake’s edge. The water terraces provide further visual interest by reflecting the tower on their surfaces. The landscape design includes six major water features: the main entry fountain, hotel entry fountain, residential entry fountain, the grand water terrace, children’s fountain pool and the sculptural fountain.
The gardens are partly irrigated with water collected through Burj Khalifa’s Condensate Collection System. Hot and humid Dubai outside air, combined with the tower’s cooling requirements result in a significant amount of condensation of moisture from the air. This water, stored in the basement car park, provides about 15 million gallons of supplemental water per year, the equivalent to nearly 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Official Name Burj Khalifa
Former / Other Name Burj Dubai
Country United Arab Emirates
Street Address / Map 1 Emaar Boulevard
Building Function office / residential / hotel
Structural Material steel / concrete
Start of Construction 2004
Global Ranking #1 tallest in the World
Regional Ranking #1 tallest in Middle East
National Ranking #1 tallest in UAE
City Ranking #1 tallest in Dubai
Official Website Burj Khalifa
Height: Architectural 828.0 meter / 2717 feet
Height: Occupied 584.5 meter / 1918 feet
Height: To Tip 829.8 meter / 2723 feet
Height: Observatory 452.1 meter / 1483 feet
Floors Above Ground 163
Floors Below Ground 1
# of Elevators 58
Top Elevator Speed 10 m/s
Tower GFA 309,473 m² / 3,331,140 ft²
# of Apartments 900
# of Hotel Rooms 304
# of Parking Spaces 2957
Design Architect Skidmore Owings & Merrill
Associate Architect Hyder Consulting
Structural Engineer Skidmore Owings & Merrill
MEP Engineer Skidmore Owings & Merrill
Project Manager Turner Construction
Main Contractors Samsung C&T Corporation;
Other Consultants Otis Elevator Company;
Dow Corning Corporation;
Tallest existing structure: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously KVLY-TV mast – 628.8 m or 2,063 ft)
Tallest structure ever built: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously Warsaw radio mast – 646.38 m or 2,121 ft)
Tallest freestanding structure: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously CN Tower – 553.3 m or 1,815 ft)
Tallest skyscraper (to top of spire): 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously Taipei 101 – 509.2 m or 1,671 ft)
Tallest skyscraper to top of antenna: 829.8 m (2,722 ft) (previously the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower – 527 m or 1,729 ft)
Building with most floors: 163 (previously World Trade Center – 110)
Building with world’s highest occupied floor
World’s highest elevator installation (situated inside a rod at the very top of the building)
World’s longest travel distance elevators: 504m (1,654 ft)
Highest vertical concrete pumping (for a building): 606 m (1,988 ft)
World’s tallest structure that includes residential space
World’s second highest outdoor observation deck: 124th floor at 452 m (1,483 ft) When it first opened, the observation deck was the highest outdoor observation deck in the World, but it has since been surpassed by Cloud Top 488 on top of Canton Tower.
World’s highest installation of an aluminium and glass façade: 512 m (1,680 ft)
World’s highest nightclub: 144th floor
World’s highest restaurant (At.mosphere): 122nd floor at 442 m (1,450 ft) (previously 360, at a height of 350 m (1,148 ft) in CN Tower)
World’s highest New Year display of fireworks.
World’s second highest swimming pool: 76th floor (world’s highest swimming pool is located on 118th floor of Ritz-Carlton Hotel at International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong).
Official launch ceremony
The opening of Burj Khalifa was held on 4 January 2010. The ceremony featured a display of 10,000 fireworks, light beams projected on and around the tower, and further sound, light and water effects. The celebratory lighting was designed by UK lighting designers Speirs and Major. Using the 868 powerful stroboscope lights that are integrated into the façade and spire of the tower, different lighting sequences were choreographed, together with more than 50 different combinations of the other effects.
The event began with a short film which depicted the story of Dubai and the evolution of Burj Khalifa. The displays of sound, light, water and fireworks followed. The portion of the show consisting of the various pyrotechnic, lighting, water and sound effects was divided into three. The first part was primarily a light and sound show, which took as its theme the link between desert flowers and the new tower, and was co-ordinated with the Dubai Fountain and pyrotechnics. The second portion, called ‘Heart Beat’, represented the construction of the tower in a dynamic light show with the help of 300 projectors which generated a shadow-like image of the tower. In the third act, sky tracers and space cannons enveloped the tower in a halo of white light, which expanded as the lighting rig on the spire activated.
The ceremony was relayed live on a giant screen on Burj Park Island, as well as several television screens placed across the Downtown Dubai development. Hundreds of media outlets from around the world reported live from the scene. In addition to the media presence, 6,000 guests were expected.