The completion of the world’s tallest skyscraper raises intriguing questions about the significance of this gleaming, spiraling form.
|Burj Khalifa is surrounded by a 27-acre park.The complex overlooks the Dubai Lake & Fountain & the Old Town Island|
|Stainless-steel spandrel panels and vertical fins articulate the gleaming glass-and-aluminum curtain wall of the tower.|
|The upper level of the entrance pavilion for the corporate suites has a sculptural ceiling of English sycamore to give it an organic lift.|
|The escalator leads to a lower-level entrance for the offices that connects to parking for cars. Glass is held in a suspended cable-net structure.|
|In the upper floors for the corporate suites, walls are lined with dark Wenge wood.|
For all the design skill, the question looms: Is the skyscraper nothing more than beautiful folly? Undeterred by the Burj’s empty spaces, Emaar reports that the tower’s Armani Hotel is recording “strong occupancy levels,” that the observatory is on target to attract 1.2 million visitors in its first 12 months of operation, that owners are starting to occupy the condos, and that the transfer of offices to owners will begin this summer. Nonetheless, due to Dubai’s sharp decline in real estate prices, some Burj condo owners are renting out apartments rather than flipping them.
For his part, Smith argues that the Burj is not the last blast of the age of spectacle, but a harbinger of the future, as developing countries follow its prototype of the mega-scale, master-planned community anchored by an iconic tower. With Saudi Arabia contemplating a kilometer-high skyscraper, and other developing countries getting set to join the supertall race, time may well prove him right — just as it did the backers of the Depression-era giant that eventually became synonymous with the exuberance of New York City and the resilience of America.
Exterior cladding: Far East Group, Al Abbar Aluminum & Glass (metal/glass curtainwall); Waagner Biro AG (cable wall pavilions); UNIMIX Concrete Supplies (concrete)
Glazing: Guardian Industries (glass); Dow Corning (silicone)
Doors: Al Abbar (entrances); Task Industrial, UAE (metal doors); Fino International FTZ, Depa Dubai, Hee Hoon Design Group (wood doors); Marshfield Door, USA; Eggers Doors, USA (fire-control doors)
Hardware: Dorma (locksets, hinges); Dorma, Samuel Heath (closers); Dorma (exit devices); CHMI (pulls); Ogro, Olivari, Manital (levers)
Interior finishes: Hunter Douglas, Decoustics, Armstrong, Armani Hotel (acoustical ceilings); STO (suspension grid); Dorma (demountable partitions); Imperial Woodworking, Fino International, Depa Dubai, Hee Hon Design Group (cabinetwork and custom woodwork); Jotun Paint, Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, Dupont (paints and stains); Wolf Gordon, Knoll Textiles, Carnegie, Maharam, Valley Forge (wallcoverings); TABU Spa / Berti Pavimentui Legno (paneling); Abet Laminati (plastic laminate); Formica (solid surfacing); Italian Automotive Texture Paints (special surfacing)
Floor and wall tile: Royal Mosa, Dal Tile, Sicis, Glacier, Fino International, London Grey, Kerman Grey, ERAMOSA; Mannington Commercial (resilient flooring); Hokanson, Tai Ping, Interface, Shaw Floors (carpet); Campolonghi Group, Tre Emme (natural stone); Lopark, Margaritelli (wood flooring); Fritz Kohl, Tabu (veneer); Figla (glass floors); Excelsior, Eden Design (metal flooring)
Furnishings: Halcon, Knoll, Haworth, Interna Contract, Moroso, Cassina, Poltrona Frau, Zographos, Interior Crafts, Arper, Cherner Chair, Holly Hunt, Armani Casa; Calvin Fabrics, J Robert Scott, Larsen, Gretchen, Bellinger (fabrics); Edelman Leather, Cortina, Pollaro Custom Furniture, Richard Schultz, Mechoshade
Lighting: Zonca; Lucent Lighting, Erco, DAL, Oldham Lighting, B-K Lighting, Dynalite, Tectronics, Philips, Holly Hunt, Armani Casa
Plumbing: Dornbracht, Durvait, Hansgrohe
Interior Designer: Giorgio Armani; Wilson Associates
SOM – George Efstathiou, FAIA,
Partner-in-Charge; Bill Baker,
Structural Engineer; Adrian Smith, FAIA,
Consulting Design Partner; Ray J. Clark; Eric Tomich; Stan Korista; Edward Thompson AIA; Peter Weismantle, AIA; Gregory L. Smith AIA; Heather K. Poell AIA; Lawrence Novak; James Pawlikowski; Luke Leung; Gil Di Lorio; Joseph Jamal; Nancy Abshire, AIA; Kenneth Turner, AIA; Peter Freiberg, AIA; Gabriel Wong, AIA B. Eunjung Cho; Bradley Young; Miguel Gonzalez; Michael Filar; Scott Kadlec; Bridgett Baker Thomas; Ishac Koussa; Katey Knott; Mohamed Sheriff; Scott Cherney; Dennis Milam; Kenneth Maruyama; David Scott; Nada Andric, Associate Director for Interiors; Daniel Bell, Associate, Site Team