Dubai begins construction of the world’s tallest building
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 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.
“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.
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.