21008 Burj Khalifa

  • Product no longer in production


  • Architect: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM)
  • Classification: Supertall skyscraper  
  • Construction Type: Reinforced Concrete and Steel 
  • Floor Area: 464,511m2 (5.67 million square feet) 
  • Height: 828m (2,716.5 ft.)
  • Location: Downtown Dubai, United Arab Emirates 
  • Materials: Reflective glazing, aluminium and textured stainless steel 
  • Stories: 160+
  • Year: 2004 - 2010


Burj Khalifa rises gracefully from the desert and honors Dubai with its extraordinary union of art, engineering and meticulous craftsmanship. At 828 meters (2,716.5 ft.), the equivalent of a 200-story building, Burj Khalifa has 160 habitable levels, the most of any building in the world.

In 2003, as a result of an international design competition, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) was selected from a group of five international competitors to carry out the architecture and engineering of the Burj Khalifa.

SOM incorporated patterns and elements from traditional Islamic architecture, but the most inspiring muse was a regional desert flower, the Hymenocallis, whose harmonious structure is one of the organizing principles of the tower’s design. Three ‘petals’ are arranged in a triangular shape and unified at the center, and instead of repeated identical patterns, the architectural plan appoints successively receding and rotated stories.

To support the unprecedented height of the building, the engineers developed a new structural system called the buttressed core, which consists of a hexagonal core reinforced by three buttresses that form the ‘Y’ shape.


With the design and engineering of Burj Khalifa, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), joined forces with Dubai based developers, Emaar Properties PJSC, to redefine what was possible with supertall buildings.

With a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries, including the John Hancock Center and Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, SOM was perfectly placed to carry out this challenging task.

At the peak of construction, over 12,000 professionals and skilled workers from more than 100 countries were on site every day.Over 45,000 cubic meters (1.59 million cubic feet) of concrete, weighing more than 110,000 tons, were used to construct the concrete and steel foundations, which feature 192 piles, buried more than 50 meters (164 feet) deep.

Text credits: Emaar Properties PJSC Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Photo credits: Emaar Properties PJSC Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP