On the Burj Khalifa’s ninth anniversary, we look back at the challenges of building the world’s tallest structure.
4th of January marks the anniversary of Burj Khalifa. Today, the structure marks its ninth anniversary since its inauguration in 2010.
Dubai’s Burj Khalifa turns 9: 50 facts you didn’t know
Standing at a whopping 828 meters in the air, the Burj Khalifa is undoubtedly at the forefront of engineering innovations. When the structure was at its peak, 12,000 workers worked on it per day and it took 22 million man-hours to complete.
Building such a tall structure came with its own set of engineering challenges. Let’s look at top five:
1. One of the first challenges of the Burj Khalifa was that the building had to withstand extreme heat, reaching more than 50 degree Celsius in summers. Accounting for that, an exterior cladding made of reflective glazing with aluminium and textured stainless steel panels were made. 300 cladding specialists were roped into individually hand-cut approximately 26,000 glass panels.
2. The hot climate also posed a condensation challenge and around 15 million gallons of water gave off from the structure. To make up for it, a separate piping system was created to hold a tank in the basement to store the water.
3. Wind loads were another structural challenge that the Burj Khalifa faced during construction. To understand the behaviour of the wind and the amount of stress it could place on the building, the design team conducted over 40 wind tunnel tests. The top structure of the Burj Khalifa was made to resemble the letter ‘Y’ and each of the three wings of the structure buttressed others through this central core.
4. It is now known that the combined weight of the concrete used for building the Burj Khalifa is equivalent to 100,000 elephants. The engineers had to mix the concrete with ice and pour it in the structure at night to skip the hot climate. This cooler mixture was also less likely to crack.
5. The total weight of all the aluminium used on the Burj Khalifa surpasses that of five A380 aircraft. These panels were lifted using a series of cranes and installed by specialists.