The Burj Dubai will be the tallest building in the world when it’s completed, and at 688 metres in September, is already taller than the Taipei 101 Tower (509 m). It is believed it will be 705-900 m tall, and 160 stories when it is completed , probably by 2009.
It is already being called “monument”; “jewel”; “icon” – but only a select group will call it home.
When it is completed, it will be part of the development called development called “Downtown Dubai”, at the “First Interchange” (aka “Defence Roundabout”) along Sheikh Zayed Road at Doha Street. The total budget for the Burj Dubai project is about US$4.1 billion and for the entire new ‘Downtown Dubai’, US$20 billion.
A computer generated image of “Downtown Dubai” when the entire region is completed, shows the Burj Dubai towering above the rest of Dubai City.
When you stand under the Burj Dubai, it doesn’t look that tall at all. It’s rather bizarre.
Alone on the flat desert landscape of Dubai, apart from the generic glitzy towers of the Sheikh Zayed Road, it seems slightly abstract, with nothing for your eye to compare it with.
For the most famous fact about the Burj — apart from that it’s the first piece of architecture to be both the tallest building and man-made structure in the world — is that its final height is a closely guarded secret until it opens next June, for fear of some rival stealing its thunder with an extra bucket of quick-drying concrete.
As if. Because nothing else comes even close. The Burj, still under construction, is in another league. This is literally a sea change in the future of skyscrapers. Welcome to the world’s first superscraper.
And the tiny emirate already has a taller building planned…
Editor’s Note April 6th 2012: This article was written in 2007; the Burj Dubai opened on January 4th 2010, and is now known as the Burj Khalifa. It is 829.84 m high, making it the tallest building in the world.