Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Burj Khalifa

The Burj Dubai is renamed or has been officially named as the Burj Khalifa at its inauguration on Jan 04, 2010. It is in honour of the present ruler of Abu Dhabi, a neighbouring sheikhdom. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are 2 of the six sheikhdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Dubai was indebted to Abu Dhabi for coming to its rescue with the much needed 10 billion dollars to bail out its troubled property developer Nakheel, (a subsidiary of Dubai World, a government outfit)late last year.

What better way to show its appreciation than to have the Burj named after the Abu Dhabi’s ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (who is also the President of the UAE)

At the inauguration, the closely guarded secret of the height of the Burj Khalifa was also revealed. It is now officially at 828m high, the highest free-standing structure in the world.

Let’s have it again in comparison with others:

1. The Burj Khalifa - Dubai 828m

2. Taipei 101 - Taiwan 508m (world’s tallest since 2004)

3. Shanghai World Financial Centre - China 492m

4. Petronas Twin Towers - Malaysia 452m (world’s highest Twin Towers)

5. Willis Tower - Chicago 442m (the previous Sears Tower)

6. World Trade Centre - N.York 415m (before the 9/11 2001, attack)
(The Freedom Tower being planned for the 9/11 ground zero site will rise 541m when completed possibly in 2013)

While the Petronas Twin Towers is the 4th highest free-standing structure, it is still the highest Twin Towers in the world.

While an awesome Burj Khalifa stands tall, we have to be mindful of the ‘Skyscrapers’s Index’ which had also been unflatteringly referred to as the ‘Skyscraper’s Curse’ by some quarters. The observation conceived by Andrew Lawrence, suggested that the completion of skyscrapers may herald in an economic crisis as what Dubai is facing now.

High rise buildings would result in an era of economic slow-down as evidenced with the Empire State Building to the 30’s Great Depression, the Sears Tower and World Trade Centre to the Oil Crisis of '74, Petronas Twin Towers to the '97 Asian Financial Crisis and the Burj Khalifa to the current Dubai economic meltdown.

If this is so, then brace ourselves for we have not seen the worst as yet. In the pipeline are a number due for completion, i.e. Saudi Arabia's Abraj Al-Bait tower in 2011, the Freedom Tower at ground zero in 2013, China's Shanghai Tower in 2014, Korea'a Incheon Tower in 2015 and a few others in Russia and other parts of China.

Are we going to see a slew of economic downturns of countries in the not too distant future. Is it in the offing. Can we take it when it comes?

So be it!

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