Breaking Height Barriers

As we know, just two years ago the former tallest building in the world, the CN Tower, measured at 553.33 m, was greatly surpassed by the new tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, measuring over 828 meters. A 160 story building that now holds 8 different records. The design of the building was inspired by the hymenocallis flower, composed of three elements centralized a core, also containing onion domes, which is significant in Islamic culture. Over 40 different wind tunnel tests were done in order to make sure that the building will be stable in the weather conditions of Dubai. One of the reasons that the Khalifa was possible to create was because of its design, starting with a very solid base, and as it increases into the sky, its width decreases. You are probably wondering, well, what does that have anything to do with its erection? Because the building’s shape varies at each level, an organized wind vortex cannot be formed, so the stress on the building is reduced. A way that this super-tall skyscraper differs from other super-tall skyscrapers, is that it does not flaunt its advanced engineering abilities, instead they are hidden, unlike most buildings today. Compared to most super-tall sky scrapers, that generally house multi-billion dollar corporations, this one is mainly a hotel, housing anywhere from public to private ultra-luxury residences.

As we go forward, in trying to build buildings at such heights, we should use this as a prime example, considering it is well over a thousand feet taller than the former tallest building. A lot can be learned from the design of this building, such as, that it is better to vary the size at every level enabling greater heights to be reached. With that being said, less is more in this case too because the of the variation in size as it erects into the sky, because prior super-skyscrapers, excluding the CN Tower, have a near 1:1 ratio from top to bottom, still very tall, but with the variations that the Burj Khalifa has, it gives it the ability to be the tallest building in the world.


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