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A question asked by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inspired Emaar to build Burj Dubai as the world's tallest building. "When we initially planned Burj Dubai, it was only a 90-storey structure. On presenting the blueprint to His Highness, he asked us a simple question: 'Why stop there?' That question was the inspiration for us to build the tallest tower in the world," Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, told Emirates Business in an e-mailed interview.
How many entrants were there for the Burj design competition and how was the final selection made?
AOver a dozen entrants from major architecture companies around the world took part in the competition for designing Burj Dubai. An expert panel selected the design Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (Som) and Adrian Smith.
The selected design not only met the design and business requirements, it had a distinct Middle Eastern context. The design is inspired by the desert flower, Hymenocallis, and the patterns on the tower represent the region's architectural traditions.
What was the original plan for the Burj Dubai? When was the decision taken to change the height and why?
AHis Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inspired us to build Burj Dubai as the world's tallest building. When we initially planned Burj Dubai, it was only a 90-storey structure. On presenting the blueprint to His Highness, he asked us a simple question: "Why stop there?" That question was the inspiration for us to build the tallest tower in the world.
Burj Dubai is not defined merely by its height, but by the iconic nature of its structure and its symbolism for Dubai's growth and success as a global city. Dubai has a long history of entrepreneurship, and the Middle East has a vast and proud tradition of innovative thought. Burj Dubai symbolises the power of ideas and implementation – the two watchwords that drive Dubai. Burj Dubai proves that in Dubai, we dream, dare and do. It embodies Dubai's determination and optimism of being a truly world city and a positive symbol for the Arab World.
What is the current estimate of the project value?
ABurj Dubai is part of the $20 billion (Dh73.4bn) Downtown Burj Dubai development. The cost of construction of Burj Dubai is $1bn.
Coming to fruition –what is the feeling of creating an international icon and the tallest building in the world?
AI can never thank enough the designers, consultants, engineers and all the staff who were involved with Burj Dubai. At the peak of construction activities, more than 12,000 professionals and skilled workers were on-site every day. They are our true heroes.
When will the entire project be completed – in terms of interiors and landscaping?
ABurj Dubai is a one of a kind development in the world, and it is only natural that the various components open in succession. Burj Dubai is marking its grand inauguration, following which Emaar will immediately take charge of the property from various consultants, contractors and suppliers. The planned handover to residents will begin in February, 2010.
Is it true that the value of the surrounding buildings with a Burj view, has gone for a premium. If so, how much?
AYes, Burj Dubai has added tremendous value to the 500-acre Downtown Burj Dubai community that surrounds it.
What is the final height of the building?
ABurj Dubai is more than 800 metres (2,625 ft) high.
What next to beat this record?
ABurj Dubai proves that genuine and lasting success is achieved by the relentless pursuit of excellence.
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