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No rival to Burj Dubai for at least a decade

The station has a capacity to handle 11,000 passengers per hour. (SUPPLIED)

By Staff Writer

Burj Dubai's project management firm believes that it will be at least a decade before Burj Dubai's record is broken.

George Efstathiou, Managing Partner of SOM and the main project manager, said: "We know that if a building started its designs today it wouldn't be done before at least seven to 10 years.

"When Burj Dubai was conceived, it was a totally different time and the biggest driving force for these tall towers are the economics," he said.

Ahead of tomorrow's grand opening, estate agents said there has been a considerable rise in demand for the tower's residential units, which were sold by the developer several years ago.

Dubai will open the world's tallest skyscraper tomorrow, boasting new limits in design and construction.

Emaar, the giant property firm partly owned by the government and which developed the needle-shaped concrete, steel and glass structure, has declined to reveal Burj Dubai's exact height.

Apparently wanting to maintain the suspense, the company will only say that the tower exceeds 800 metres, putting it far higher than Taiwan's Taipei 101 tower (508m).

Bill Baker, a structural and civil engineer and partner in Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), which designed the tower, said Burj Dubai has set a new benchmark. "We thought that it would be slightly taller than the existing tallest tower of Taipei 101. (Emaar) kept on asking us to go higher but we didn't know how high we could go," he said.

"We were able to tune the building like we tune a music instrument. As we went higher and higher and higher, we discovered that by doing that process... we were able to reach heights much higher than we ever thought we could.

"We learned quite a bit from Burj Dubai. I would think we could easily do a one kilometre (tower). We are optimistic about the ability to go even higher."

The 160-floor tower, containing 330,000 cubic metres of concrete and 31,400 tonnes of steel, can be seen from as far as 95km away.

Burj Dubai contains 57 lifts, which will whisk people to 1,044 apartments and 49 floors of office space, as well as a hotel bearing the Giorgio Armani logo. A spiralling Y-shaped design by SOM architect Adrian Smith was used to support the structural core of the tower, which narrows as it ascends.

Higher up it becomes a steel structure topped with a huge spire. To reach the final stages, concrete was propelled to a height of 605m – a world record.

Efstathiou said the tripod Y shape provides a stable base. "We took that basic... plan and used references to Islamic geometries and pointed arches... as we go vertical with that shape we stepped it back in order to mitigate the wind issue. The building is very quiet. There are many storms that you wouldn't notice at all. This building is a lot quieter than a lot of the other supertalls that came before, even if they are shorter buildings."

Construction, which began in 2004, is estimated to have cost $1 billion (Dh3.67bn). It was carried out by South Korea's Samsung Engineering & Construction, Belgium's Besix group and Arabtec.

The skyscraper is the centre-piece of a $20 billion (Dh73.46bn) new shopping district, Downtown Burj Dubai, which includes 30,000 apartments and the Dubai Mall, which says its space for 1,200 shops makes it the world's largest indoor shopping centre. (AFP)

Stage set for celebrations

An estimated two billion people around the world are expected to watch live the inauguration of the tallest man-made structure on the planet in an iconic celebration of the accession of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, as Ruler of Dubai.

All preparations for the grand celebration were completed and capabilities were mobilised everywhere to give the best detailed close-up coverage of the event using the latest digital High Definition (HD) transmission technology, said Ahmad Al Shaikh, Board Member and Managing Director, Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) and Media Escort to Sheikh Mohammed.

Two HD TV mobile production units equipped with state-of-the-art equipment will be on location with full teams to cover the event.

Some 400 representatives of local, regional and international media and news agencies will cover the inauguration. The Media Office has taken the responsibility of issuing media accreditations and making all related arrangement for media coverage, he said.

The Office, which is also organising Sheikh Mohammed's accession celebrations, is supervising cultural, traditional and sports events and performances and marches between 2pm and 8pm across Dubai.

The organising committee took almost one month to make the necessary preparations for the celebration.

Hassa Al Rashid, Media Relations Officer at the Media Office in Dubai, said all team members remained deeply involved to make the preparations for this big celebration.

She, on behalf of the Media Office in Dubai, thanked all bodies that co-operated with the organising committee to hold the celebrations.

The committee is co-ordinating with all bodies taking part in the celebration by helping them in rehearsals and traffic planning for public places and roads that will see the marches of loyalty. (Wam)

Burj Dubai metro station opens tomorrow

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), announced that RTA will officially operate Burj Dubai metro station tomorrow to mark the fourth anniversary of the Accession Day of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, as Ruler of Dubai.

"Burj Dubai is one of the elevated metro stations with the concourse and platform situated at a level upper than the elevated metro track, extending 132 meters in length and 29 meters in width. The station has a capacity to handle 11,000 passengers per hour in each direction, and has two entry points fitted with escalators together with lifts.

According to the current indicators, the station is expected to be used by about 10,000 passengers everyday; and the daily number is set to rise during weekends and holidays to 19,000 persons," said Al Tayer.

He said: "Burj Dubai Station mainly serves Burj Dubai district, which spans an area of 45 million square feet. It harbours residential, commercial and recreational facilities as well as restaurants, retail outlets, the world's tallest tower Burj Dubai, Dubai Mall, 30,000 residential units, 9 world-class hotels, 19 residential towers, and a Boulevard measuring 73 metres in width and 3.5km length. The station also serves the other side of the road Jumeirah 2, which has a high population density.

"RTA has deployed 11 buses to operate on two routes to feed Burj Dubai Station, where six buses will operate on Route F13 at 10 minutes interval. The route links Burj Dubai Station with Burj Dubai area, which includes Dubai Mall, The Palace & The Address hotels, the Boulevard and other locations in the area. Route F16 has 5 buses operating at 10 minutes interval to link Burj Dubai Station with Jumeirah 2. Buses, starting from the station, pass across Mazaya Center, Al Wasl Road and Al Uruba Road before heading back to the Metro station" he said.

"The shell-shaped metro stations had been purposely built to enhance safety and security of the public as the design was intended to be clear, simple and with minimum walking distance," said Al Tayer.

Dubai fountain to dance to a new tune

The Dubai Fountain will perform to a new song written especially for the inauguration of Burj Dubai tomorrow.

The uplifting song Inshed An Aldar (Ask about home) is the second Emirati composition to be added to the hugely popular repertoire of The Dubai Fountain, which attracts thousands of visitors to the Waterfront Promenade of The Dubai Mall each evening. The fountain currently performs to nine songs including Sama Dubai, a tribute to the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The new song is inspired by the festive spirit of dancing and happiness, and reflects the UAE's proud musical traditions. The water patterns of The Dubai Fountain, described as the world's tallest 'performing fountain', have been carefully choreographed to capture the nuances of Inshed An Aldar.

Ahmad Al Matrooshi, UAE Managing Director for Emaar Properties, said the addition of another Emirati song to the performances at The Dubai Fountain would complement the entertaining programme of the UAE cultural events taking place on Accession Day.

The Dubai Fountain was designed by California-based company WET, which also created the famous Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. The Dubai Fountain can reach a height of 275 metres and is equipped with powerful nozzles capable of shooting water higher than a 50-storey building.


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