The World’s Tallest Tower Just Broke Ground in Dubai
The first foundation stone of the new structure known as The Tower, which will surpass Dubai’s 828m (2,716 ft)-high Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building, was laid out by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Dubai Creek Harbour this week, the government’s media office reports.
The Tower, which will form the centrepiece of the 3.7 square mile (six square-kilometre) Dubai Creek redevelopment project, will be “a notch taller” than the Burj Khalifa, Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties, the same company behind the Burj Khalifa, revealed this April when the plans were first announced. The developers are aiming to complete its construction before the Dubai World Expo in 2020.
The new Dubai tower is designed by Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava Valls, known for futuristic structures such as the City of Arts and Sciences complex in Valencia, Spain and New York City’s new World Trade Centre transportation hub which opened this year.
Highlighted features of The Tower include The Pinnacle Room, a slender, streamlined structure with a needlepoint-like tip, as well as several “garden” observation decks, decorated with trees and other greenery, which will offer 360 degree views of the city.
The building will also have glass balconies that rotate outside the wall of the tower, as well as a luxury hotel and 18 to 20 floors of shops, restaurants and other tourist facilities, the company said. It will also be built in the same area as the The Address Downtown, the company’s 63-storey luxury hotel that went up in flames on New Year’s Eve last year.
The third major skyscraper fire in Dubai since 2012 raised renewed fears about the use of highly combustible materials on the exterior facades of hundreds of skyscrapers throughout the UAE.
Officials ordered a national safety survey of the country’s existing buildings at the time and promised to tighten regulations since the incident.
“Wind engineering and seismic tests” are said to have been conducted on The Tower, while “every aspect is designed to the highest international standards, from the materials to the construction technology”, according to Emaar Properties.
When questioned in April about the potential fire risks of the soon-to-be-built new Dubai tower, Mr Alabbar noted that it is impossible to eliminate all risks.
“Safety rules are good, but can you really eliminate all risk? I don’t think human beings are able to eliminate all risk,” he told reporters in at the time.
“Risks are there as long as we are progressing…these things do happen, and you have to go and fix them and make sure if they happen, they happen to a minimum.”
Both the new tower and the Burj Khalifa will be dwarfed by Saudia Arabia’s 3,280 ft-high Jeddah Tower, which is also slated for completion in 2020.
Funding for the last phase of the $1.2billion (£800million) development was secured late last year. The Kingdom Tower, as it is also known, will accommodate the world’s highest observatory.
Earlier this year, plans to build the 5,577 feet-high Sky Mile Tower in Tokyo were proposed by two New York-based architectural design firms. The proposed tower would offer multi-level open-air sky decks at every 320 metres and other shared public facilities. If plans for the eco-friendly complex are approved, the Sky Mile Tower will surpass the Jeddah Tower and could be completed by 2045.
Dubai is currently developing various hotels and entertainment projects with the aim to attract 20 million tourists a year by 2020, up from 10 million in 2012. This August it announced plans to open a new five-star hotel featuring its own rainforest and aquarium by 2018.
In 2014, it opened the world’s highest observation deck on the 148thfloor of the Burj Khalifa, offering visitors views from 555 metres (1,821 feet) above the ground.