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Burj Khalifa - Architecture and Design

The Burj Khalifa tower is designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, who also worked on other world famous high-rises such as Willis Tower of Chicago, and 1 World Trade Centre in New York City. Although the building resembles the bundled tub form of the Willis Tower, it is not a tube structure. Its design is based on the 73-storey Tower Palace Three, an all-residential building in Seoul, South Korea.

After the original design by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Emaar Properties considered Hyder Consulting as the Supervision Consultant, Engineer and Architect of Record.

The Burj Khalifa design has been derived from patterning systems embodies in Islamic architecture. According to Adrian Smith, the design architect, the triple-lobed footprint of the building has drawn inspiration from the 'Hymenocallis' flower. The tower has three elements arranged around a central core. As the tower rises up from the flat desert base, in an upward spiraling pattern, the cross section of the tower is decreased, as it moves sky-wards. At the top, the central core emerges, and is sculpted to form a finishing spire. There are a total of 27 terraces in Burj Khalifa. The Y-shaped floor plan offers excellent views of the Persian Gulf. When viewed from the base, the form also resembles the onion domes of Islamic architecture.

When designing the tower, the building has been rotated at 120 degrees from its original layout so as to reduce stress from prevailing winds. The Burj Khalifa spire consists of more than 4000 tonnes of structural steel, and houses plant and facilitates communication equipments.

The Burj Khalifa interiors are adorned with more than 1000 pieces of art, while the residential lobby of Burj Khalifa houses artworks of 196 bronze and brass alloy cymbals representing 196 countries of the world. Plated with 18-carat gold, and struck by dripping water, the sound coming from these cymbals, mimic the sound of water falling on leaves, which the visitors entering the lobby get to hear.

The exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa comprises 142,000 sq. mts of reflective glazing, aluminium, and textured stainless steel panels with vertical tubular fins. The cladding system is so designed that it can withstand the extreme summer temperatures in Dubai. More than 26,000 glass panels have been used for the exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa.

Out of the lower 39 floors, the Armani Group will occupy 15 floors. The rest 108 floors will have 900 private residential apartments. The 76th storey of the tower comprises outdoor zero-entry swimming pool, while the rest of the floors include corporate offices and suites. However, the 122nd floors house the At.mosphere restaurant, 123rd houses a sky lobby, and 124th floor includes an indoor and outdoor observation deck.

Burj Khalifa has the capacity to hold at least 25,000 people at a time, with a total of 57 elevators and 8 escalators being installed.

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