Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Burj Khalifa

"It was the culmination of many years of work and one of the most thrilling moments of my career"

- Adrian Smith

The Burj Khalifa was designed by American architect Adrian Smith and is currently the tallest man-made structure in the world. The building was designed to be the centerpiece of a large-scale, mixed-use development that would include 30,000 homes, nine hotels, 7.4 acres of parkland, at least 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and the 30-acre man-made Burj Khalifa Lake. This ambitious project began reportedly based on the government's decision to diversify from an oil based economy to one that is service and tourism based; in order to garner more international recognition, and hence investment. The tower’s organic form is derived from the culture and landscape of the region, strongly connecting the building to the surrounding context. As the tower ascends, setbacks occur reducing the mass of the building as it rises to the sky and triumphantly finishes in a spire. Burj Khalifa features an innovative condensation collection system used for irrigation of the tower’s landscape plantings. The system, in theory, provides about 15 million gallons of supplemental water per year, equivalent to nearly 20 Olympic sized swimming pools. According to Smith:
"The Burj Khalifa, was designed not for ego gratification or to fulfill a list of superlatives. It was designed to lift the spirits of a nation and a culture, and to bring joy and inspiration to its citizens."
Smith is one of the world's most prolific names in the design of supertall buildings and, in the words of  Antony Wood, "one of a relatively small number of architects who has designed and built a significant number of not only tall, but supertall, buildings internationally.” Many of his designs, as seen in Burj Khalifa, emphasize sensitivity to the physical environment, taking into consideration site orientation, climate and geography, and cultural and social influences. As of mid-2011 Smith has designed four of the world's eleven tallest buildings and his body of work includes some of the world’s tallest and most recognized buildings. According to Peter Irwin, "his designs transcend mere height and have become landmarks because of their graceful design and inherent sensitivity to local context and culture." It is these designs that have won Smith 5 international awards, 8 National AIA awards, 22 Chicago AIA awards, and 2 ULI Awards for Excellence. Smith was also the recipient of the CTBUH Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award in October 2011.

Click here for more on the Burj Khalifa and here for more on Adrian Smith.


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