Burj Dubai to be world's tallest building, how tall?

Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:09pm EST
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By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - In the annals of tall skyscrapers, there is no doubt that the soon-to-open Burj Dubai will be the world's tallest. But how tall is known to only a few.

"It's still a secret," William Baker of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, the tower's structural engineer, said in an interview ahead of the Burj Dubai's January 4 opening.

"The client (Emaar Properties PJSC) will only let us say it's more than 800 meters (2,625 feet) tall. It's part of the mystique of the project," he said.

Baker said the architects wondered if someone would try to figure out the slender tower's height by measuring its shadow.

Chicago-based Skidmore developed the "buttressed core" structural system that resembles a gigantic "Y" to support the super-tall tower, which is nearly twice as tall as Skidmore's 442-meter (1,389 feet) Willis Tower in Chicago.

The 35-year-old Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower and once the world's tallest building, will be bumped down to fifth spot, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which tracks such things. The current record-holder, the Taipei 101, will be dropped to second.

Seven of the world's 10 tallest towers are in Asia, all built in the past 13 years.

Jan Klerks of the Council on Tall Buildings said the group has asked to know the tower's exact height.   Continued...

<p>Burj Dubai, world's tallest tower, is seen in Dubai in this file image from December 14, 2009. REUTERS/Mosab Omar/Files</p>