Up Above The World So High!

Apr 12 • Articles, International, Skyscraper • 1950 Views • 11 Comments on Up Above The World So High!

By Yuha Scarselli…


Everybody as kids played with building-blocks, trying hard to stack one block over another, until the stack got too tall and the blocks fell over. The aim was always to reach high!


Fantasies in life are vital to all. They say one must never give up on their fantasy. Perhaps the same approach influenced the Ruler of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, to build the world’s tallest building, on his land. Burj Khalifa, the name of the tallest man-made structure, is now synonymous with magnificence and opulence. The first sight causes a neck-sore in a delirious way. Just a glance does not seem possible, just a glance does not seem enough! The mere scale of the building seems surreal in comparison to the numerous atoms of mankind ogling at it, every single day, every single hour. The skyscraper stands tall at 829.8 metres; taller by over 300 metres, in comparison to its closest competitor, Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan.

Dubai ruler’s wish for the world to always associate Dubai with grandeur has been in many ways to tag the city ‘above the whole wide world’. This was the vision, and by way of Burj Khalifa, the design architect Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill enlivened it. The structure was taken to completion by Emaar Properties, with Canadian  firm NORR responsible for all architectural and construction supervision. Burj Khalifa holds numerous world records ranging from ‘Tallest Existing Structure’ – 829.8 metres, to ‘Building with most floors’ – 163, to ‘World’s longest travel distance elevators’ – 504 metres, and many more.


Burj Khalifa is reminiscent in form, to a bundle of tubes. The design is an inspired interpretation of the characteristic element of Islamic Architecture – patterns. The spiralling minaret is another iconic element of Islamic Architecture. As the tower grows tall from the ground level, 27 offsets allow for the bundle of tubes to take form of a spire. The offsets become terraces at various levels. Due to the skyscraper’s unique form, the structural engineers developed a distinctive structural system, called the 3-buttressed core, form a ‘Y-shape’. The key aspects of the system ensure the building does not twist as a consequence of its height. At the tip, however, the building sways by about a metre and a half.


“Burj” in Arabic means tower; although Burj Khalifa is everything more than just a tower. It houses a wide variety of spaces ranging from private apartments, corporate offices and suites, hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, outdoor swimming pool, sky decks etc. The first 15 floors alone are dedicated for the Armani Hotel, while the 124th floor contains the Observation Deck, accessible to all visitors as ‘At the Top – Burj Khalifa’. Although the view from the Observation Deck looks like that from an airplane, it still is worth the ascent, as the experience gives all visitors the pride of being atop the world’s tallest building!


Burj Khalifa, among many things, is also famed for its spectacular New Year’s Eve Firework displays. It holds records for fireworks too! This is one of the many reasons why visitors from every nook of the world cherish the sight of the tower.

Burj Khalifa redefined the skyline of the world, soaring ‘Up Above the World So High, like a Needle Reaching the Sky’!


 Yuha Scarselli is an architect and interior designer from India, living in Dubai.


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