Worlds tallest hotel boasts 7 Star Opulence – Burj Al Arab
The Burj Al Arab (Arabic: برجالعرب, “Tower of the Arabs”) is a luxury hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates managed by the Jumeirah Group and built by Said Khalil. It was designed by Tom Wright of WS Atkins PLC. At 321 metres (1,053 ft), it is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel. However, the Rose Tower, also in Dubai, which has already topped Burj Al Arab’s height, will take away this title upon its opening in April 2008. The Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 metres (919 ft) out from Jumeirah beach, and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. It is an iconic structure, designed to symbolize Dubai’s urban transformation and to mimic the billowing sail of a boat.
Construction of Burj Al Arab began in 1994. It was built to resemble the sail of a dhow, a type of Arabian vessel. Two “wings” spread in a V to form a vast “mast”, while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium. Architect Tom Wright said “The client wanted a building that would become an iconic or symbolic statement for Dubai; this is very similar to Sydney with its Opera House, or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the country.”
The architect and engineering consultant for the project was Atkins, the UK’s largest multidisciplinary consultancy.
The hotel was built by South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts. The hotel cost $650 million to build.
Several features of the hotel required complex engineering feats to achieve. The hotel rests on an artificial island constructed 280 meters offshore. To secure a foundation, the builders drove 230 40-meter long concrete piles into the sand. The foundation is held in place not by bedrock, but by the friction of the sand and silt along the length of the piles.
Engineers created a surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honey-comb pattern, which serves to protect the foundation from erosion. It took three years to reclaim the land from the sea, but less than three years to construct the building itself. The building contains over 70,000 cubic meters of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel.
Inside the building, the atrium is 180 meters (590 ft) tall. During the construction phase, to lower the interior temperature, the building was cooled by half-degree increments over a period of three to six months. This was to prevent large amounts of “condensation or in fact even a rain cloud from forming in the hotel during the period of construction.” This task was accomplished by several cold air nozzles, which point down from the top of the ceiling, and blast a 1 meter cold air pocket down the inside of the sail. This creates a buffer zone, which controls the interior temperature without massive energy costs.[citations needed]
Burj Al Arab characterizes itself as the world’s only “7-star” property, a designation considered by travel professionals to be hyperbole. All major travel guides and hotel rating systems have a 5-star maximum, which some hotels attempt to out-do by ascribing themselves “6-star” status. Yet according to the Burj Al Arab’s official site, the hotel is a “5-star deluxe hotel”. It is the world’s tallest structure with a membrane façade and the world’s tallest hotel (not including buildings with mixed use) and was the first 5-star hotel to surpass 1,000 ft (305 m) in height. Although it is characterized as the world’s only 7-Star Hotel, several “7 Star” hotels are under construction. These include the Flower of the East under construction in Kish, Iran, The Centaurus Complex under construction in Islamabad, Pakistan and a complex planned for Metro Manila in the Philippines.
Project Type: Hotel
Architect: Tom Wills-Wright (WS Atkins)
Interiors: Khuan Chew, Design Principal of KCA International (London).
Location: Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Style: Post Modern
Construction: 321 m The Burj Al Arab is the world’s tallest hotel. 5 stars* No. of rooms 202
Antenna/Spire 321 m (1,053 ft) Roof 210 m (689 ft)
Top floor 200 m (656 ft) Floor count 60
Floor area 111,500 m² (1,2000,000 sq ft)
Elevator count 18