Burj Khalifa, you are 14 years old! It is still the tallest building in the world, for now

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In 2010, Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, formally inaugurated in Dubai. It is more than 160 stories high and rises 828 meters into the sky, about 250 meters higher than Toronto’s CN Tower and more than four times higher than our Calgary TowerIt is 190 meters high.

The construction of the Burj Khalifa was important in terms of demonstrating that an engineering/construction feat of this magnitude could be achieved. He also noted Dubai’s growing role on the global stage. Dubai has grown from a regional hub, largely known for its surrounding oil reserves, to an acclaimed tourist destination offering world-class shopping, entertainment and architecture. “It is a recognition that they want to project their image on the global stage,” Daniel Safarik, of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), located at the Illinois Institute of Technology, told the media. “An easy way to do it physically, in a relative sense, is with a skyscraper.”

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Calgary Herald, January 2, 2010.
Calgary Herald, January 2, 2010.

As the Burj Khalifa turns 14, here’s a look at some fun facts and figures about the structure:

  • It houses eight escalators and 57 elevators; An elevator route inside the building is the longest in the world at 504 meters.
  • In addition to being the world’s tallest building, the Burj holds other records, including hosting the world’s tallest nightclub, tallest open-air observation deck, tallest restaurant, and largest fireworks display.
  • There are 2,909 stairs in the building from the ground floor to the 160th floor.
  • More than 40 wind tunnel tests were performed on the building to measure how the weather would affect the structure.
  • At the Burj you will find a hotel, business offices and private apartments.
  • Two swimming pools grace the elevated lobbies on the 43rd and 76th floors; Residents also have their own library.
  • A five-bedroom penthouse in the tower was listed for more than $27 million a few years ago.
  • The building has more than 24,000 windows. It takes 36 workers up to four months to clean the exterior of the building. The top 27 levels are cleaned using a specially designed, $8 million system of machines.
  • The adjacent Burj Lake is home to the Dubai Fountain, an extravagant water and light show that has become popular with visitors and residents. The water can shoot up to 275 meters into the sky, with more than 6,600 lights and dozens of color projectors contributing to the spectacle.
  • A walk around the lake during the fountain show costs US$65. A variety of packages are available for visits to various upper floors of the building.
  • The building is named after Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

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Calgary Herald, May 18, 2022.
Calgary Herald, May 18, 2022.

How long will the Burj Khalifa hold the record for the world’s tallest building? Construction has begun on a new tower that many thought would once earn that title. The Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia was planned to reach at least one kilometer (1,000 meters) in height when completed. American architect Adrian Smith, who designed the Burj, is also the creator of the Jeddah Tower. However, in 2018, work on the tower stopped (about a third was already finished) due to labor problems. Other complications with the workforce, due to the pandemic, also contributed to later delays. In September 2023, the project appeared to be moving forward again, with a new call for proposals to finish the structure.

Calgary Herald, August 3, 2011
Calgary Herald, August 3, 2011
A photo provided by Kingdom Holding Company on August 2, 2011 shows a model of the world's tallest tower being built in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.  Prince Alwaleed bin Talal awarded the Saudi Binladin Group a contract to build the world's tallest skyscraper which would have been over 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) high and which would have cost 4.6 billion rials ($1.2 billion) to build.  A call for new proposals was launched last year to finalize the project.  AFP/Getty Images/ Kingdom Holding Company.
A photo provided by Kingdom Holding Company on August 2, 2011 shows the model of the world’s tallest tower being built in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal awarded the Saudi Binladin Group a contract to build the world’s tallest skyscraper which would have been over 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) high and which would have cost 4.6 billion rials ($1.2 billion) to build. A call for new proposals was launched last year to finalize the project. AFP/Getty Images/ Kingdom Holding Company.

But a structure even taller than the Jeddah Tower may be in the works. Saudi Arabia may be considering building an even taller project. Media reports indicate that the country is considering building a two-kilometer-high tower in the city of Riyadh, says GRATIFICATION Magazine (Middle East Business Intelligence). A design competition for the structure was reportedly underway, with an entry fee of $1 million.

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