1.48 AM Wednesday, 31 May 2023
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 04:00 05:25 12:19 15:41 19:08 20:33
31 May 2023

Burj Khalifa design secrets to help birth towers twice as tall

By Parag Deulgaonkar

Can a tower twice the height of Burj Khalifa’s 828-metre be built?

A top structural engineer, who worked on designing the world's tallest tower, says the Burj Khalifa's "buttressed core design" holds the key to building super skyscrapers of the future.

William Baker, a structural engineer at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill who worked with Adrian Smith on designing the system that allowed Burj Khalifa to be built, believes the buttressed core design can be used to build structures even taller than the world’s tallest tower.

"We could go twice that or more,” he told theatlanticcities.com.

The buttressed core design is a kind of three-winged spear that allows stability, viably usable space (as in not buried deeply and darkly inside a massively wide building) and limited loss of space for structural elements. 

Calling a skyscraper design "a fairly serious undertaking," Baker says it's totally feasible to build much taller than even the one-kilometre high Kingdom Tower, which is expected to be completed by mid-2017.

"We could easily do a kilometer. We could easily do a mile.”

Though the buttressed core would probably have to be modified to go much higher than a mile, Baker reveals that other systems could be designed. And, he is working on some of them now.

The article further quotes Tim Johnson, chairman at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and a partner at the architecture firm NBBJ, that he worked on a project back in the late 2000s designing a building that would have been a mile-and-a-half tall, with 500 stories for a Middle East client.

However, the client’s name was not disclosed.

Johnson says the design team identified between eight and 10 inventions that would have had to take place to build a building that tall.

When asked about some of the limitations of tall buildings, Adrian Smith said that the predominant problem was in the elevator and transportation system.

Smith is the architect behind the current tallest tower in the world and also the designer of the Kingdom Tower.

In July, Zhang Yue, Chief Executive Officer, Broad Sustainable Building, a Chinese construction firm, told Reuters he plans to build a two-kilometre high, 636-floor tower.

He also revealed plans to build a 838-metre high tower, 10 metres taller than the Burj Khalifa, in four months’ time from ground breaking using the rapid-construction techniques that his company has invented.

The tower dubbed ‘Sky City 220’ will have schools, a hospital, 17 helipads and house 30,000 people.

Burj Khalifa has 900 studio, one, two, three and four bedroom, while the Armani Residences has 144 fully-furnished private apartments.

Dubai is home to three tallest residential towers in the world - the 414-metre Princess Tower, the 395-metre 23 Marina and the 381-metre Elite Residence.