Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

Offices, Hotels and Housing
Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Build completed in 2010

Burj Khalifa

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP as Architects

Burj Khalifa, formerly Burj Dubai, at the center of a large-scale development, is the tallest building in the world. The design combines cultural influences with cutting-edge technology to achieve a high-performance building. Its massing is manipulated in the vertical dimension to minimize the impact of wind on the tower's movement.

The design for the 270,000 square meter Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) combines historical and cultural influences with cutting edge technology to achieve a high-performance building. Some of these technologies are:

* High performance glazing with Low E coating: A low-emissivity glass provides Burj Khalifa with enhanced thermal insulation against high ambient temperatures of Dubai.

* Sky sourced ventilation: Cooler air temperatures, reduced air density, and reduced relative humidity at the top of the building allow for “sky-sourced” sustainability innovations. When ventilation air is withdrawn at the top of the building, it requires less energy for air conditioning, ventilation, and dehumidification.

* Condensate recovery system: Burj Khalifa has one of the largest condensate recovery systems in the world. Diverting and reusing water from air conditioning condensate discharge prevents it from entering the wastewater stream and reduces the need for municipal potable water. Estimated annual savings are equal in volume to 14 Olympic sized swimming pools.

* Higher voltage power up in building: Conduction of electric power using higher voltage reduces energy losses and increases energy efficiency when compared to low voltage energy distribution.

* Electronic metering: Individual electric energy monitoring systems enable ongoing energy optimization of the tower’s systems over its lifetime. This will result in a reduction of Burj Khalifa's energy related environmental impact.

* Smart lighting and mechanical control: Burj Khalifa's building management system (BMS) provides the tower with low operational costs, a more efficient use of building resources and services, good control of internal comfort conditions, effective monitoring and targeting of energy consumption.

* Stack effect controls: Great thermal differences between the building’s interior and exterior generate a stack effect. Burj Khalifa was designed to passively control these forces, reducing the need for mechanical means of pressurization while saving energy.

Learning from the design and construction processes of Burj Khalifa, SOM is currently applying similar technologies to new projects. For example, the new DMC Tower in Seoul will make use of the naturally occurring wind stack effect. By generating a percentage of the building’s power demand using wind turbines, the design will reduce municipal energy use to a fraction of a supertall building’s typical consumption.

Other supertall structures are also learning from Burj Khalifa. In the world’s tallest building, SOM has implemented new ways to increase structural and construction efficiencies while reducing material use and waste. Lessons learned from Burj Khalifa will help to decrease the environmental impact associated with construction and raw material extraction.

The Burj Dubai Tower, when completed, will be the world’s tallest structure. The superstructure is currently under construction and as of the start of 2007 has reached near 100 stories. The final height of the building is a “well-guarded secret.” The height of the multi-use skyscraper will “comfortably” exceed the current record holder of 509 meter (1,671 ft) tall Taipei 101. The 280,000 m2 reinforced concrete multi-use Tower is utilized for Retail, a Giorgio Armani Hotel, Residential, and Office. The goal of the Burj Dubai Tower is not simply to be the world’s highest building; it’s to embody the world’s highest aspirations.

Designers purposely shaped the structural concrete Burj Dubai—“Y” shape in plan—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 a “buttressed” core. Each wing, with its own high performance concrete core and perimeter columns, buttresses the others via a six-sided central core, or hexagonal hub. The result is a tower that is extremely stiff torsionally. SOM applied a rigorous geometry to the tower that aligned all the common central core and column elements to form a building.

Each tier of the building steps back in a spiral stepping pattern up the building. 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. This allows the construction to proceed without the normal delays associated with column transfers.

The setbacks are organized such that the Tower’s width to change at each setback. The advantage of the stepping and shaping is to “confuse the wind.” The wind vortexes never get organized because at each new tier the wind encounters a different building shape.

The 280,000 m2 (3,000,000 ft2) Tower and 185,000 m2 (2,000,000 ft2) Podium structures are currently under construction and the project is scheduled for topping out in 2008.

Tallest man-made structure in the world

Knauf Danoline as Manufacturers

With its 829.8 metres, Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest building in the world. This iconic, award-winning architecture has pushed the boundaries of building design and engineering. Knauf Danoline has contributed to this magnificent building by providing acoustic solutions over the travelators in the exit passage of the tower. In addition to excellent sound absorption and acoustic comfort, Designpanel Micro also ensures a calm simplistic ceiling surface to complement the rest of the interior design.

Burj Khalifa – Conquering the Skies

Royal Boon Edam International BV as Manufacturers

The Burj Khalifa, or Burj Dubai as it was originally known, is a legendary building that can only be described in superlatives. At over 828 meters high, it is the tallest building in the world; with 160 stories, the Burj Khalifa has the most stories of any building in the world, it also has the highest occupied floor in the world, the highest installation of an aluminium and glass façade, the highest nightclub and the highest restaurant, the tallest service elevator and the elevator with the longest travel distance. Finally, it also has the highest revolving doors ever installed in the façade of a building.

In less than 30 years, Dubai has become a leading city in the Middle East that has become well known for the architectural, constructional and engineering feats it achieved. The Burj Khalifa has become the symbol of that progress. Fittingly the Burj Dubai also brings back the title of tallest man-made structure in the world back to the Middle East where the Great Pyramid of Giza was one of the first to hold that title over 4 millennia earlier.

International Cooperation

The tower was designed by the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merril which is well known for their designs of the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) and the new One World Trade Center in New York. The three lobed design was based on the Hymenocallis flower and consists of three elements arranged around a central column, with the elements shifting in a spiral pattern as the height of the tower increases. That this was truly an international project, is best showcased by its construction team consisting Samsung Engineering & Construction of South Korea in a joint venture with Besix from Belgium and Arabtec from the United Arab Emirates. The consulting firm of Hyder Consulting from the United Kingdom was responsible for overseeing the engineering integrity of the building. Overall companies from more than 30 different countries helped to make the Burj Khalifa possible.

A Windy Challenge

When building a skyscraper this size, wind loads are a major difficulty that has to be overcome. Without additional measures the top of the building could start swaying so much in the wind that people inside might get seasick. Dubai moreover is plagued by the Shamal; sand storms that can last for days. With a façade containing as much glass as the Burj Khalifa’s, withstanding these weather conditions would be challenging. The three lobed design however proved to bring a solution as the spiraling floors break the wind flow around the building resulting in a sound and stable structure.

The Highest Revolving Doors in the World

The design of Skidmore, Owings and Merril called for an outside observation deck on the 124th floor of the building with two glass revolving doors granting access to it. At 442 meters high, these would be the highest revolving doors ever installed in the façade of a building and had to be able to withstand wind loads of at least 3000 Pascal, or an F3 class Tornado. The Burj Khalifa required two automatic revolving doors with a diameter of 3000mm and an overall height of 2700mm, the canopy could be only 300mm high with the motor being installed on top of it. Normally a revolving door with these specifications would only be able to withstand wind loads of up to 689 Pascal: It was clear that not every revolving door manufacturer would be able to supply an entry that could meet these requirements.

Meeting the Challenge

Royal Boon Edam was one of only two companies invited to come up with a solution for this challenge and our engineers met it head on. We knew that there were two main problems to overcome: the curved walls of the revolving door would have to be strong enough to withstand the winds and the door set would have to be fixed tightly in order for the door wings not to be blown loose during a storm. Boon Edam worked closely together with Mace the Hyder Consulting, Samsung Engineering and Construction and Turner Construction, the subcontractor, to develop a solution that met all requirements. During the initial phases of the process, the second company that had been invited to tender for this project had to drop out as they could not get their design to work in the challenging conditions on the 124th floor. Boon Edam persevered and after carrying out different wind load and glass tests, managed to adapt the construction of their TQ revolving door to meet the requirements of the Burj Dubai.

A Revolving Door Able to Withstand a Tornado

The proposal we came up with was a TQ revolving door with specially reinforced posts that are twice as wide and thick as those of a normal revolving door. These were firmly bolted to the floor with special bolts being used underneath the floor to ensure the strength of the structure. Although most revolving doors are installed on top of the flooring, this one was placed underneath the final layer of concrete floor of the observation deck. In order to guarantee the stability of the door set, an extra thick steel frame was integrated into the construction. This allows the door wings to easily withstand the wind pressures.

Special Projects Based on Standardized Solutions

The revolving doors we created for the Burj Khalifa posed an incredible challenge. The experience and expertise of our engineers combined with the proven technology of the TQ revolving door allowed us to meet it and bring it to a successful conclusion. Today both revolving doors are used on a daily basis to allow visitors a spectacular view of Dubai. Their glass construction complements the modern façade of the observation deck and puts the stunning skyline of Dubai in the spotlight where it should be.