Burj Khalifa has opened 05.01.10

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image: Charles Crowell/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After months of delays and brooding speculations the world's tallest building by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill opened in Dubai on 4 January, announcing a surprising name change and an official height of 828 metres.

The Burj Khalifa – named after the ruler of neighboring Abu Dhabi, which bailed out Dubai during the country's debt crisis last year – looks more like a space elevator than a skyscraper. At 828 metres it is over 300m taller than its nearest rival the Taipei 101 in Taiwan. It juts out of the desert in a surreal fashion, making the surrounding real estate look toy-like in comparison.

American firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill is responsible for the stepped tapering structure resting on a triangular petal-like base that now stands as a symbol of both the boom and bust of Dubai.

In icon 080, the Fiction Issue, out mid-January, we follow author Will Self on a visit to the Burj in his essay High Rise: A Fantasia on a Visionary Theme by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

 

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The Burj Khalifa – named after the ruler of neighboring Abu Dhabi, which bailed out Dubai during the country's debt crisis last year – looks more like a space elevator than a skyscraper

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