Burj Khalifa is NOT the tallest …

[tweetmeme]  The massive Burj Khalifa here in Dubai officially opened after nearly 5 years of work including some from yours truly, It succeeded Taipei 101 as the world’s tallest building. There is no disputing its preposterous height: At 169 stories, or 2,717 feet, the $4.1 billion tower stands a little more than half a mile high. But not everyone agrees that it qualifies as the tallest manmade structure. And suppose it does? Given how fast the Dubai boom bubble has bust, it’s hard not to think of the building as a monument to the false economies of the 2000s.

Countries on the verge of economic ascendancy can be relied on to build the tallest structure in the world as an expression of their ambition. It was true of America when the Empire State Building topped out in 1931, as it was Kuala Lumpur in the late 1990s and Taiwan in the mid-2000s. It was almost inevitable that the Middle East would steal the crown. The problem, of course, is that over the past six years Dubai had become the poster child of the maligned borrow-and-build approach to prosperity. Shares of Emaar Properties, the tower’s developer, have dropped 86% since Dubai real estate peaked about a year ago. The structure had previously been known as Burj Dubai, but at the ribbon cutting ceremony it was officially renamed Burj Khalifa in honor of Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi or so is the official word on it. It might as well be a cost that Dubai had to pay to try and spread its wings before the economy had developed.

Living here in Dubai we all kind of know that, 90% of the tower’s 1,044 condo apartments have been sold, but most were bought as investments and will likely go unoccupied for the time being. The first residents are supposed to move in later this month, but the real-estate crash may cause a good number of buyers to abandon their deals. Nor will there be much demand for the thirty-seven floors set aside for offices. Burj Khalifa may be a shining spiral edifice on the outside, but it’s interiors will be 3.7 million square feet of emptiness, a vertical ghost town. It’s the architectural equivalent of Pamela Anderson’s breasts a puffed up esthetic for an era of disingenuous.

However, it may not be the tallest structure, depending on the type of measurement. The Ursa tension leg platform (pictured above), an oil production facility 130 miles southeast of New Orleans owned by Shell Oil, has a total height of 4,285 feet from the sea floor. However, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an obscure coterie of engineers that presides over height statistics, does not consider an oil platform a building because it extends underwater, has minimal habitation and supports itself with tethers. So for now, Dubai holds the record, however dubious it may seem.

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    • Swaram
    • February 11th, 2010

    Heyy! U from Dr.AIT

      • misterjester
      • February 11th, 2010

      Yes I am … intereting, you from there as well ?

    • The Evil Grasshopper
    • February 12th, 2010

    i dont understand – its the tallest building. thats the record. simple! its not the tallest structure.

    a similar comparison can be seen between the fastest animal -cheetah and the fastest bird – spinetail swift / perigrine (i never get the spelling right) falcon. even though birds are part of the animal kingdom, the cheetah is still the fastest animal.

    its all in the details.

      • misterjester
      • February 12th, 2010

      Yes of course, You are right. However this was in response to the World’s tallest Man made structure, a title that does not really belong to the BUrj.

      However, thanks for the comment 🙂

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