17 curiosities of the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and one of the most impressive things to see in the United Arab Emirates . Located in the business area of Dubai, it is very surprising to see it, especially from the plane when landing in the city of opulence: suddenly a huge tower is seen at the bottom of kilometers and kilometers of desert. Its construction began in 2006 and in just four years it was already inaugurated breaking a lot of records . If you want to know more about this building and its construction, here are 17 curiosities of the Burj Khalifa .

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17 Curiosities Of The Burj Khalifa

A short-lived record

At 828 meters it is the tallest building in the world. It is equivalent to three times the Eiffel Tower , 15 times the fall of Niagara Falls and twice the Empire State . In fact, it can be seen 100 kilometers away on a clear day . But as if this were not enough, there are already competitors hot on his heels.

It is estimated that in 2022 the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia will be finished , the first building to exceed one kilometer in height. The Mubarak al-Kabeer Tower in Kuwait and the Murjan Tower in Bahrain are also approved . Although the latter are on hold due to lack of budget, what is clear is that the Burj Khalifa does not have many years of reign left .

Not only does it hold the record for being the tallest building in the world

It also has the world’s tallest observation deck, nightclub and restaurant . To be exaggerated, they even take the cake for having the most spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks show !

But what most surprises the visitor is perhaps its ultra-fast elevator with capacity for 14 people that travels half a kilometer in just one minute. It goes at a speed of 10m/s , or what is the same, 36km/h.

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But there are times when it is better not to take the elevator…

On February 8, 2010, barely a month after its opening, a group of tourists got stuck between two floors for 45 minutes . The cause of the elevator stoppage was a problem with the electricity supply in the building. Everything was left in a scare, it was solved and on April 4, 2010 the highest observation platform in the world was reopened.

The Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world

Solution in case of emergency

The elevators should not be taken in case of fire or any emergency, but… how long does it take to go down more than 100 floors by stairs? We only tell you that there are 2909 steps from the ground floor to the top . The architects kept safety in mind and designed a pressurized, air-conditioned shelter space every 25 floors .

How do firefighters get on?

Another of the curiosities of the Burj Khalifa, very useful in an emergency, is that it has the first exclusive elevators for the use of firefighters , with a capacity of 5,500 kilos!

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A most international building

The building is in Dubai, but it has taken people from very far away to create it. The architectural firm that designed the Burj Khalifa is called SOM, Skidmore Owings & Merrill and is based in Chicago .

Theirs is the merit of conceiving a structure capable of supporting more than 150 floors. But the builders are Koreans , the company Samsung Engineering and Construction carried out everything that the Americans had put on paper.

The amazing view from the Burj Khalifa
The amazing view from the Burj Khalifa

Controversial construction

During the busiest days of construction, there were some 12,000 workers dedicated to the Burj Khalifa . Most of them are from Southeast Asia and, according to an investigation by the Human Rights Watch, they suffered tremendous abuse .

They worked countless hours to earn about €5 a day. In addition, during the 4 years of construction, only one death due to an occupational accident was reported, but it is suspected that there were more or, at least, injured workers. One of the curiosities of the Burj Khalifa that should not exist… denounceable at least .

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Glass against heat

The exterior of the Burj Khalifa is clad in 26,000 panes of glass , each individually cut. With that impressive amount , more than 15 football stadiums could be covered . In addition, it is not just any glass, more than 300 coating experts from a Chinese company specially designed it to withstand the heat of the Dubai summer .

How do you clean all that glass?

If it is already dizzying to see men hanging from a normal building to clean its facade, those of the Burj Khalifa deserve a separate chapter. The cleaners get on 12 machines that move along a kind of exterior tracks to be able to clean the 24,000 windows that the tallest building in the world has . In this video you can see how they do it (not recommended for those with vertigo!)

They changed the name at the last minute

Before its inauguration its name was Burj Dubai (Dubai tower) but unexpectedly it was renamed to honor the president of the United Arab Emirates : Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayan. This man made an effort to seek financial support in the neighboring emirate, Abu Dhabi, when the project was questioned due to the economic crisis and the large debt that the city of Dubai had in the final stage of construction.

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It could surround a quarter of the planet

If all the reinforcement bars supporting the structure of the Burj Khalifa were placed horizontally, they would cover the equivalent of a quarter of the perimeter of the planet . Only the foundations are 50 meters deep!

Consume a lot!

It is no surprise that a building of this magnitude consumes a lot of energy resources. Every day alone, almost a million liters of water and the equivalent of 360,000 light bulbs on at the same time are used.

Should have been in Australia

Adrian D. Smith, its creator, designed the building with the name “Grollo Tower” for the Docklands area of Melbourne . In this initial phase, the design had nothing to do with the final result: it was a 570-meter prism with an illuminated tip .

There are brave people who have jumped from its top

For lovers of risk, this building is a gem from which to jump with a parachute . It’s only been allowed for a few months, but shortly after it opened there were a couple of people who went up as tourists but ended up getting away with it and jumping illegally . Just watching the following video gives you an adrenaline rush!

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A couple of very heavy Burj Khalifa curiosities

The aluminum used for the construction of the Burj Khalifa weighs as much as 5 A380 aircraft , the largest model in the world. As for cement, its weight is similar to 100,000 elephants .

Its underground structure is also very tall

The sandy lands of the country are not a good ground to build such a building because they are not very stable. But that was not an impediment to its construction. A 49 meter deep superstructure was made to support the weight of the Burj Khalifa .

Inspired by a flower

Its structure is inspired by a flower called Hymenocallis , very typical in the Dubai region for its ability to adapt to tropical climates. It has long petals and that is why the base of the Burj Khalifa is Y-shaped , with different Y-shaped elements around a central point.

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