When Burj Khalifa was offiically opened on January 4, 2010 one of the most fanciful rumours doing the rounds on the Dubai grapevine was that the steel spire at the top of the world’s tallest tower had a hydraulic system built into it so that it could be hiked higher, should another skyscraper dare to challenge its record-breaking title.
Back in 2010 I put this rumour to engineer Bill Baker, of design firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, who worked on the design and construction of the tower, which at the time was known as Burj Dubai.
Baker laughed, but refused to confirm or deny the theories and the conspiracy theory raises its head every now and again to this day. When Kingdom Tower in Jeddah opens will the the spiral suddenly rise further? Who know’s, but Baker did conceed that the biggest challenge for the construction team behind the project was the fact that it was working in ‘unchartered territory’. Click here to read the full interview with Baker and his team.
As we celebrate the sixth anniversary of the opening of the tower, it is easy to forget the astronomical statistics it generated: The bottom of the tower was made using 250,000 cubic metres of concrete, the equivalent to the weight of 110,000 elephants. Equally impressive, the 35,700 metric tonnes of steel used in the top spire could stretch a quarter of the way around the globe if stretched end to end. For more insights on the tower’s construction, click here for an interview with Philippe Dessoy of Besix, one of the contracting firms who helped build the tower.
When the tower was offiically inaugurated, a plaque was unveiled and Dubai One TV announced that the name of the tower was Burj Khalifa, in honour of the UAE president, and not Burj Dubai, as all the material, souvenirs and road signs said. Click here to get a taster of the excitement from our live blog of the ceremony.
The Burj Khalifa New Year’s Eve fireworks have now become an annual showcase for Dubai and the show is beamed live around the world. However, nothing can beat the epic display seen at the tower’s opening ceremony six years ago. Click here for a video of the extraordinary extravaganza.
Our sister magazine, Sound & Stage, also interviewed those who put the display together. Arabian Business