Integrated concrete and landscape design
Today, when you browse through a major urban real estate developer’s website, you will notice something fairly unique—embedded in the various articles about the site’s unique features are a series of inspirational and informational videos that focus on specific aspects of integrated concrete and landscape design. One of the most prominent and visually impressive urban landscapes ever built and completed is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. In addition to the beauty of its architecture, the project boasts a sweeping grand terrace or outdoor promenade, the massive Burj Khalifa observation deck, the stunning architectural structure Burj Dubai, and the AED1.3 billion Ferrari World—a four-themed hotel and theme park by none other than the iconic carmaker. These are just a few of the many awe-inspiring, and world-changing, feats of architectural and urban design. For those who wonder if a country can have a transformative urban landscape, look no further than the United Arab Emirates—a country that stands out as a model for international urban development. In the first quarter of 2011, Burj Khalifa was ranked as the tallest building in the world by architectural design firm Arup, exceeding the height of the current tallest building, the Burj Dubai, by an inch. Today, the Burj Khalifa is only the third tallest building in the world, yet it already has a design that has grown from a prototype into a nearly 30,000-square-meter architectural and urban landscape, in which more than 10 million cubic meters of concrete were used to create the skyscraper’s foundation, core, and services. What’s more, the complex continues to change and evolve, especially in the last few years with the unveiling of many new additions and amenities.
“With the plan, we are raising the aspirations of all Emiratis and setting a new benchmark for building construction.”
Those who have been following the Burj Khalifa’s history know that the project had undergone many ups and downs since its first design and construction phase. Even though the Burj Khalifa’s architectural intent and design were successful when it was built in 2010, it soon faced many criticisms regarding its aesthetic value. For example, UAE businessman and investor Sulaiman Al Kabariti highlighted that the building lacked aesthetic and practical beauty, by stating, “The design of this building and its features appear outdated and were done more for aesthetics and a prestige factor rather than to create the optimum and appropriate design to suit the daily needs of the residents and visitors,” and later adding, “In addition, these facilities could have been designed to operate more efficiently, for instance, the elevators do not provide the type of comfort that one could expect at this height.” In contrast, many critics believe that the construction of this enormous city within a city, located right next to the Dubai Creek, was the ultimate show of bravado. The world’s largest observation deck, the legendary Ferrari World, situated in the 1,001-meter-tall core of the complex—surrounded by both a robust wall and an extensive underground connection to the rest of the residential, commercial, and educational spaces—is one of the most visually stunning urban features in the Middle East. The city also boasts a large publicly accessible open air promenade, which extends to around 3.5 kilometers. As mentioned earlier, the Burj Khalifa’s total structural system (HMS), which is the most complex in the world, consists of 70 percent of concrete and was inspired by the sculptural aesthetic of the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, located only a few kilometers away from Burj Khalifa.
Upon completion, Burj Khalifa achieved many awards and accolades.