Burj Dubai contract calls for 560 metre skyscraper

Emaar selects Bauer and Middle East Foundations to construct the tower foundations

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By  Eudore Chand Published  April 10, 2004

The company that has won the contract to carry out the foundations for Burj Dubai, which is being promoted as the world’s tallest tower, has stated that the height of the skyscraper would be 560 metres. Dubai-based Emaar Properties has so far kept the height of the tower a closely guarded secret with speculation about its height ranging from anywhere between 550 metres to 700 metres. Closest rival is the existing 509-metre Taipei 101 tower. Another potential contender for the world’s tallest tower title could be the Freedom Tower in New York, which is being built on Ground Zero and is proposed to be as high as 542-metres. Height regulations are strict. The Canadian National Tower in Toronto claimed it was the tallest building in the world at 553-metres, but was disqualified because it extended its height by using a spike. Being 560 metres high, allows for at least an 18-metre lead over the proposed Freedom Tower. Market talk also mentions that the foundations may be so laid that there could be allowance for a few metres more to be added to the height even during the construction of the tower. Former world champions, Empire State Building and Chrysler Tower in New York, both changed height specifications during the construction period. Change of specifications during the execution of a project is not unknown in this part of the world. Bauer Spezialtiefbau of Germany said it has been awarded the Euro 14 million contract to construct the foundations for Burj Dubai, together with a local firm. In a statement posted on its website, Bauer said: “The developers, Emaar Properties, and the architectural design consultants, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, are prepared to raise the stakes in the global race to scrape the sky with a 560-metre tall tower due for completion in 2006”. Bauer was awarded the contract with Middle East Foundations, a local contractor also operating Bauer drilling rigs. “The first task is to carry out a series of large-scale pile load tests. This is then to be followed by the installation of 200 piles of 1.5 metre diameter to a depth of up to 50 metres and 650 piles of 900 mm diameter to depths of up to 36 metres,” Bauer said. The contract, which is valued at about US $17 million, has to be completed by the middle of July 2004. During the past decade, constructing the tallest building in the world has become something of a technical challenge, which not only provided developers and architects with an opportunity to make a name for themselves, but also accorded new worldwide fame and attention to the respective cities, Bauer pointed out. The Empire State Building claimed world record for 44 years, until in 1975 the 442-metre tall Sears Tower in Chicago came up and held the crown for 23 years. In 1998, the 452-metre twin Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur wrested the crown. “This was not just an extraordinary event for the Malaysian capital, but established a highlight for the entire East Asian region. The Petronas Towers were to be exceeded by the 492-meter World Financial Centre currently under construction in Shanghai and due to be completed in 2007. However, the 509-metere Taipei 101 in Taiwan has, in the meantime, overtaken developments on the Chinese mainland. Consultancy for creating the world’s tallest tower has gone to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of Chicago, who also designed the Sears Towers. The inspiration for Burj Dubai design has been influenced by the culture and history of the Gulf. Its base and geometry is in the shape of a six-petal desert flower while the top will have a three-leaf motif that maximises the view. The dome profile will accentuate the design while the stepped architecture that peels away as the building gets higher will highlight the cascades of domes on all its sides as one looks up to the top. “Combining residential, commercial, hotel, entertainment and leisure outlets with open green spaces, water features, pedestrian boulevards, an 'old town' and one of the world's largest shopping malls, this project will create a new architectural landmark - a city within a city," Mohamed Alabbar, Emaar chairman had said at the unveiling of the project, which is coming up at the 1.4 million m2 compound of the former Central Military Command complex on Sheikh Zayed Road.

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