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Skyscrapers in Dubai: Buildings and Materials Essay


Introduction

Skyscraper is a term that is used to refer to tall buildings. Skyscrapers are mostly designed for businesses or office use (Oxlade, 2006). There is no designated height for a building to be referred to as a skyscraper, but one common feature about such buildings is that they have many stories. Most of them have a steel framework. Curtain walls are suspended from such frameworks. In modern times, skyscrapers are designed with large surface area windows due to the steel frames that make it possible for such windows to be installed. Most of these tall buildings are designed with a tubular design that was innovated by an engineer known as Fazlur Rahman Khan, who as a Bangladeshi- American (Halfmann, 2003). It is a design that is known to make the building stronger and enable it to resist wind and seismic activity. The building is designed in such a way that it acts as a hollow cylinder. It is economically effective and efficient in that it minimizes the usage of materials. Skyscrapers are mostly constructed in areas where there is no sufficient land or land is too expensive.

Dubai is the biggest city in the UAE and has a total of 911 high rises. Approximately 88 of these buildings are as tall as over 180 meters. One of the things that make the city phenomenon is the fact that it is home to the tallest tower in the world. It is also home to the tallest hotel in the world, as well as the tallest residential building. In addition, the tallest building in the world happens to be also the tallest man-made structure in the world (Halfmann, 2003). This essay focuses on the tallest buildings in Dubai. The essay will analyze three tall buildings in the city in terms of the way they were built, the materials that were used to build them, the year or time when they were built, as well as the way those buildings are used.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is also known as the Khalifa tower and is the tallest building in Dubai. It also happens to be the tallest building in the world. Its height is about 829.8 meters, which is equal to 2 722 ft. The building has a total of 163 floors (Telegraph Media Group Limited, 2013). Amazingly, there is no other man-made structure in the world that is taller than this building. There are a number of records associated with the building. Among them are; it is the tallest building in the world, it is the building in the world that has the most number of floors, no other building in the world has most occupied floors than Burj Khalifa, it has the highest elevator installation, and its elevators travel the longest distance, which is about 504 meters.

In addition, the building has a vertical concrete pumping that is the highest in the world. The world’s highest night club is located in this building at the 144th floor. It also houses the world’s highest restaurant on the 122nd floor, which is approximately 442 meters. It has had the highest display of fireworks on a new year. Finally, Burj Khalifa’s swimming pool is the second highest in the world on the 76th floor, after the one at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong, which is at the 118th floor (AllAboutSkyscrapers.com, 2012).

Burj Khalifa started being constructed in the year 2004 on September 21st and was completed by January 2010. It was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is the Dubai ruler. Owings, Merrill, and Skidmore performed the architect and engineering of the building, with Adrian Smith being the chief architect. The chief structural engineer was Bill Baker. The construction was contracted to Samsung Engineering & Construction of South Korea. This construction company is the same one that worked on Petronas Twin Towers. In building the Burj Khalifa tower, the company worked in collaboration with Besix, a Belgium company, and United Arab Emirates Arabtec.

The tubular design that makes the tower helped in saving the cost of construction material, at the same time ensuring the strength of the building, was guaranteed. In this regard, the tower used less steel compared to what Empire State Building used, by a half. The primary structure of this building is made up of reinforced concrete. The foundation was made of steel and concrete. The concrete used was about 45,000m3 in volume and about 110,000 tonnes in weight. Further, the foundation has about 192 piles. Each of the piles has a diameter of 1.5 meters and a height of 43 meters. The piles are further buried over 50 meters in the ground (EMAAR PJSC, 2013).

The total amount of concrete used to construct the building was about 330,000m3 in volume and about 807,000 tonnes in weight. In addition, 55,000 tonnes of steel bars were used in the construction (Arabian Business Publishing Ltd, 2013). One of the most interesting things about the construction of this building is the number of men- hours it took to complete it, which was equal to a staggering 22 million hours. The constructors made us of a “cathodic protection system” as a way of avoiding corrosion coming from groundwater chemicals. The materials were lifted to the upper levels of the building with the help of three tower cranes.

All floors beyond the 156th have been built using lighter steel than the lower floors. Every 35 floors, there is a pressurized floor for refuge, and it is air-conditioned. The purpose of these floors is to shelter people in case of an emergency. Glass and polished black stones were also used in the building. The type of glass used was Guardian Industries’ Solar Silver 20 and Guardian ClimaGuard NLT low-E. The glasses are efficient insulators since they are known to have low R-values, which is about 2.63 (Arabian Business Publishing Ltd, 2013).

The building has a mixture of uses. There are various activities and purposes for the various floors in the building. There are businesses that are conducted in it. For instance, the tower houses the Armani Hotel, which has a night club and a restaurant. The building is also used for residential purposes. There are people who reside in it. Some floors are designed for residential purposes. The building was designed to boost tourism in Dubai. There is a mosque inside the building, as well (Arabian Business Publishing Ltd, 2013).

Burj Khalifa has amazing features from the inside. For instance, it has a water supply system that supplies about 250,000 US gal of water each day. The water is supplied through pipes, which are equal to a distance of 100km. There is also piping that equals 213km that is meant to serve the fire emergency system. Chilled water is used to provide air conditioning using pipes that run about 134km. The upper side of the tower serves the purpose of supplying air for the AC system. The air in the upper floors is much cooler compared to that in the lower floors, and this makes the air conditioning system effective (Arabian Business Publishing Ltd, 2013).

Princess Tower

This is the second tallest building in Dubai. It is located at Marina District within the city. It is also referred to as Al Ameera Tower. It is a fully residential house and the tallest residential building in the world. Globally, Princess Tower is the 14th tallest, while in the Middle East, it is rated as 3rd tallest. Princess Tower has a total of 101 storeys, which translates to about 413 meters or 1,355 ft. It is said to have a total of 763 units and nine hundred and fifty-seven underground parking bays, which are spread across six floors. The types of residential units in this building are bedroom apartments with 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms (Tameer, 2013). There are also duplexes, as well as Penthouses.

In addition, the building has 8 retail outlets. The tower is one of the most valuable properties in the city, and one of the most sought after buildings. The construction of Princess Tower was proposed in the year 2005, kicked off in the year 2006 and by the year 2012 the building was ready for use. Princess Tower is a property of Tammer Holding Investment, and its total cost of construction is approximated to be in the range of $216 million. The contract for constructing the structure was offered to Arabian Construction Company (ACC). The architecture was carried out by Eng. Adnan Saffarini, who was also the landscaper.

The building has high speed elevators. It has in door, as well as outdoor swimming pools. On the 97th floor, there is a full floor area designed for functions. The floor can be used for recreation, as well as for business events such as seminars, meetings and conferences among others. In addition, the building has gymnasiums, sauna rooms, areas where children can play, as well as rooms for playing indoor games such as table tennis, badminton and billiard. Surrounding it is 5-star hotels, bars, and restaurants as well as beach resorts.

There is a mosque inside the building that was meant to serve the residents of Princess Towers (Tameer, 2013). In addition, there are well advanced shopping and educational centres located near the building, thus residents have easy access to any of the services. It offers a comfortable and modern lifestyle to residents who like staying along the coastline. Its appearance is grandeur, both from the inside and the outside. On top of the building, there is a mast that has a weight of 110 tonnes. This mast is made of an alloy of aluminium and steel metal (Net Resources International, 2013).

The building was constructed using material such as concrete, aluminium, steel, and glass. A total of 90,000m3 was used in the construction. The curtain walls covering the building are made up of aluminium. It has peripheral columns that contain spandrel beams. There are metal decking that run from the peripheral columns across to the concrete core. The slabs are supported by steel beams. Steel beams are important supporters since they are very strong and enable the building to support big weights. It is worth noting that the materials used in the construction were acquired from all over the world. For instance, the curtain walls were acquired from China. The tiles used in the building were procured from Italy and Spain. In addition, water chillers were imported from the United States of America, while cabinets installed in the kitchens and wardrobes were acquired from Italy (Net Resources International, 2012).

Almas Tower

Almas Tower is also known as Diamond Tower. It is the fifth tallest building in Dubai. It is located in Jumeirah Lake Towers Free Zone Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The tower houses offices and is currently the tallest building used for office purposes only. It has a total of 73 floors and a height of 360 meters, which is equal to 1,180 ft. It is the 25th tallest skyscraper in the world, it ranks 7th in the Middle East and 5th in the United Arab Emirates. Prior to the completion of Burj Khalifa, Almas Tower was the dominant tower in terms of height in Dubai. It has both underground floors and floors above the ground. The number of floors above the ground is 68, while those that are found under the ground are 5. Commercial floors are 60 and those for service level are 4.

The building houses offices for over 300 companies from within the nation, regional, as well as international companies. Most of the business companies hosted there are those that deal with Diamond. It offers a transparent sophisticated, as well as a secure platform where Diamond traders can conduct and grow their businesses. It is not a coincident that the building is named after diamonds. The word Almas is the Arabic name for diamond. The main reason behind its construction was to address the issues that affect the diamond industry. Construction of the building started in the year 2005 and was completed in the year 2009. It has 33 elevators and 2 escalators, with a total of 1,700 parking places (Emporis GMBH, 2012).

A number of companies were involved in the construction of Almas Tower. The main contractor was Taisei Corporation. The design architect was carried out by Atkins, who was also the MEP Engineer. Nakheel was the constructions developer. Among the consultants involved were KONE, RWDI and Dow Corning Corporation. As mentioned earlier, Almas Tower is used for business purposes. It has conference halls where business personnel can conveniently hold meetings, seminars, as well as conferences. There are training facilities offered in the building. The training that is offered by both regional and international institutions is meant to enable the diamond traders keep up to date regarding new technology in the diamond industry, as well as creating awareness of the processes that are available (Bayut Ltd, 2012). One of the institutions found in the building is the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Materials used in the construction of Almas Tower include concrete, glass, and curtain walls. Concrete is used in the erection of the building’s structure. The slabs are supported by steel metal to make them strong enough to hold a high weight. The sides of the building are glass used as the façade material, while the façade system is made up of curtain walls. The curtain walls are made up of aluminium and glass, which are insulated to form a complete module. The building has a glass floor and there is a full security facility installed inside it. In addition, there is a fully equipped gymnasium, bullion, as well as diamond vaults. There are retail space and food courts, as well as facilities for conferences (Bayut Ltd, 2012).

Conclusion

Skyscrapers are tall buildings that are designed to host businesses, offices or residential rooms. They are mostly found in areas where there is less land space or the land available is too expensive. Dubai is a highly commercialized city. There is less space for constructing buildings, yet the population is too high. In order to host the increasing number of people in the city, the need for building tall buildings has become urgent. It is one of the cities in the world that has the tallest buildings. It is home to the tallest building in the world known as Burj Khalifa. It is also home to the tallest residential building in the world, Princess Tower. In addition, the tallest office building, Almas Tower, is found in Dubai. These buildings have been beneficial to the city since they have helped improve business operations, boost tourism, as well as increase the number of residential houses to house more people. It has taken high levels of technology and innovation to erect these buildings.

Reference List

AllAboutSkyscrapers.com 2012, BurjKhalifa, Web.

Arabian Business Publishing Ltd 2013, ‘BurjKhalifa’, Arabian Business.com, Web.

Bayut Ltd 2012, Almas Tower, Bayut Ltd, Web.

EMAAR PJSC 2013, ‘Inspired design’, BurjKhalifa, Web.

Emporis GMBH 2012, , Emporis, Web.

Halfmann, J 2003, Skyscrapers, Smart Apple Media, North Mankato, MN.

Net Resources International, 2012,, designbuild-network.com, Web.

Oxlade, C 2006, Skyscrapers: Uncovering technology, Firefly Books, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Tameer, 2013, , Web.

Telegraph Media Group Limited, 2013,, The Telegraph, Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020, May 21). Skyscrapers in Dubai: Buildings and Materials. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/skyscrapers-in-dubai-buildings-and-materials/

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Skyscrapers in Dubai: Buildings and Materials." May 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/skyscrapers-in-dubai-buildings-and-materials/.

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