History of Innovation

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2004: Burj Khalifa- Dubai, UAE

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Innovation: Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world)
Location: Dubai, UAE
Architect/Structural Engineering: Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM)
Construction timeline: January 2004- January 2010

The tallest building in the world at 2,717 feet, the Burj Khalifa represents a collaboration between engineers, architects, specialists, and contractors from around the world at a magnitude never before seen.  More than 30 contractors from around the world had 12,000 workers on site per day that represented over 100 nationalities. Specialists from China worked on a cladding system that can withstand intense summer heat and significant wind load. Chicago-based firm SOM provided the architectural and structural design for the structure.

A reinforced concrete foundation containing 192 reinforced concrete piles buried 164 feet supports the tower, which is centered around a buttressed hexagonal concrete core with 26 helical levels that decrease in cross section higher in elevation. The setback structure of the building eliminates abrupt transfers in load and eliminates wind vortices by varying building shape at different heights. The core itself resists torsional movement while corridor walls resist wind shear and moments. Vertical columns in the wall system resist both lateral loads and gravity, making the Burj Khalifa an efficient structure. A spire made of 4,000 tons of structural steel tops the structure and had to be constructed inside the tower and raised with a hydraulic pump. Every 30 stories, an entire floor is devoted to MEP equipment and the tower holds the record for world’s tallest service elevators. `

Construction timeline and innovative construction techniques
Burj Khalifa facts and figures


Written by Meagan Wilkes

January 1, 2004 at 7:36 pm

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