Truesee's Daily Wonder

Truesee presents the weird, wild, wacky and world news of the day.

Monday, January 4, 2010


World's tallest skyscraper opens

World's tallest skyscraper opens in Dubai

Dubai has opened the world's tallest skycraper, renaming it the Burj Khalifa in honour of the man who bailed the financially troubled Gulf city-state out of its debts.


Richard Spencer in Dubai

5:31PM GMT 04 Jan 2010


Surprising those gathered on Monday evening for an opening ceremony lit up by fireworks, the Burj Dubai, whose height was officially given as 828 metres or 2717 feet, became the Burj Khalifa - or Khalifa Tower.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan is the ruler of the neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi, and president of the United Arab Emirates. He and his brothers personally intervened last month to lend Dubai £6 billion to pay off the pressing debts of one of Dubai's biggest state-owned companies.

The tower was launched by Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, with a spectacular display of fireworks, which fired out from the sides of the building all the way up its tubular spire to its peak.

Its inauguration, on the fourth anniversary of the sheikh's accession to the emirate, has brought a much-needed feeling of festivity to Dubai, which has been battling all year with a debt crisis caused by a collapse in property prices amid the world financial crisis.

The tower has become symbolic of the emirate's woes: historians have pointed out that an obsession with skyscrapers is a good sign of an economic bubble. The Empire State Building was commissioned when New York's stock market was at its peak in the 1920s, and opened after the Wall Street Crash.

The passion for tall buildings moved to Hong Kong and other parts of Asia in time for the 1997 financial crisis.

The tower's exact height had been long kept a secret, with the builders, the specialist Chicago skyscraper firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, allowed and even encouraged to keep going until they thought they could go no further.

At 2,717 feet, it is a full 1,046 feet higher than the world's previous highest occupied building, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan, and 654 feet higher than the tallest man-made structure, the KVLY-TV tower in North Dakota, America, a broadcasting mast.

It will contain more than 1,000 apartments, an Armani-branded hotel, and offices up to the 160th floor. Financial analysts are looking forward to discovering how many have been let, and at what cost, given that property prices have halved in the city in the last year.

The top 40 floors - growing ever smaller towards the top - will be occupied by the tower's service centres.

The first chance to see the interior - and the view - came with the opening of an observation deck on the 124th floor on Monday.

It provides a good platform from which to view the city's achievements, for good or ill.

After ascending in a single lift ride at more than 30 feet per second, visitors who pay £17 will be able to see the tops of the city's other skycrapers hundreds of feet below.

They will, in fact, be able to see the whole "World" spread out at their feet - the archipelago of artificial islands out in the Gulf which is supposed to be a base for luxury villas, hotels and shopping developments but which is currently almost entirely empty.

This being Dubai, they will also have the opportunity to shop. The souvenir stall sells a range of "Burj Dubai" tee-shirts, with some noticeable additions: 299 dirhams, just short of £50, is the cost of a drink of water, as the bottles have a portrait of the tower and its name picked out in diamante.

Visitors will have a stark vision of Dubai's economic growth in the last three decades - from desert to the tower's south to its thriving port and commercial centre to the north and east.

Mohammed Alabbar, the chairman of the tower's developer, Emaar Properties, showed he was aware of the irony of the tower's opening at the nadir of the city's fortunes.

"Crises come and go. And cities move on," he said. "You have to move on. Because if you stop taking decisions, you stop growing."

The city's defenders point out that even if Manhattan and Hong Kong suffered financial crises when their most celebrated buildings opened, they have not done badly since. North Korea, on the other hand, has few skyscrapers.



Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home


June 2021   May 2021   April 2021   March 2021   February 2021   January 2021   December 2020   November 2020   October 2020   September 2020   August 2020   July 2020   June 2020   May 2020   April 2020   March 2020   February 2020   January 2020   December 2019   November 2019   October 2019   September 2019   August 2019   July 2019   June 2019   May 2019   April 2019   March 2019   February 2019   January 2019   December 2018   November 2018   October 2018   September 2018   August 2018   July 2018   June 2018   May 2018   April 2018   March 2018   February 2018   January 2018   December 2017   November 2017   October 2017   September 2017   August 2017   July 2017   June 2017   May 2017   April 2017   March 2017   February 2017   January 2017   December 2016   November 2016   October 2016   September 2016   August 2016   July 2016   June 2016   May 2016   April 2016   March 2016   February 2016   January 2016   December 2015   November 2015   October 2015   September 2015   August 2015   July 2015   June 2015   May 2015   April 2015   March 2015   February 2015   January 2015   December 2014   November 2014   October 2014   September 2014   August 2014   July 2014   June 2014   May 2014   April 2014   March 2014   February 2014   January 2014   December 2013   November 2013   October 2013   September 2013   August 2013   July 2013   June 2013   May 2013   April 2013   March 2013   February 2013   January 2013   December 2012   November 2012   October 2012   September 2012   August 2012   July 2012   June 2012   May 2012   April 2012   March 2012   February 2012   January 2012   December 2011   November 2011   October 2011   September 2011   August 2011   July 2011   June 2011   May 2011   April 2011   March 2011   February 2011   January 2011   December 2010   November 2010   October 2010   September 2010   August 2010   July 2010   June 2010   May 2010   April 2010   March 2010   February 2010   January 2010   December 2009   November 2009   October 2009   September 2009   August 2009   July 2009   June 2009   May 2009   April 2009   March 2009   February 2009   January 2009   December 2008  

Powered by Lottery PostSyndicated RSS FeedSubscribe