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SOM | Burj Khalifa – Structural Engineering

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Burj Khalifa – Structural Engineering

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Photo © Nick Merrick | Hedrich Blessing Photo © Nick Merrick | Hedrich Blessing Photo © SOM Photo © SOM Photo © SOM Photo © SOM Image © SOM

Rising 828 meters over the desert metropolis of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa tower is the world's tallest structure. The 280,000-square-meter skyscraper contains office, residential, and retail space, along with a Giorgio Armani hotel. Built of reinforced concrete and clad in glass, the tower is composed of three elements arranged around a central buttressed core. As it rises from a flat base, setbacks occur at each element in an upward spiraling pattern, reducing the tower’s mass as it reaches skyward. At the pinnacle, the central core emerges and is sculpted to form a spire.

SOM created a simple Y-shaped plan to reduce wind forces, as well as to foster constructability. Each wing, with its own high-performance concrete core and perimeter columns, buttresses the others via a six-sided central core, or hexagonal hub. The result is a tower that is extremely stiff torsionally. SOM applied a rigorous geometry to the tower that aligned all of the common central core and column elements.

The setbacks are organized in conjunction with the tower’s grid: the stepping is achieved by aligning columns above with walls below to provide a smooth load path. This enabled construction to proceed without the normal delays associated with column transfers. At each setback, the building's width changes. The advantage of the tower's stepping and shaping is, in essence, to “confuse the wind.” Wind vortexes can never sufficiently coalesce because the wind encounters a different building shape at each tier.

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Related to This Project

Burj Khalifa Dubai, United Arab Emirates Burj Khalifa – Interiors Dubai, United Arab Emirates Burj Khalifa – MEP Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Project Facts

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Project Completion: 2010

Site Area: 104,210 m2

Project Area: 454,249 m2

Number of Stories: 162

Building Height: 828 m

Market: Commercial + Office, Hospitality, Mixed Use, Residential

Service: Structural + Civil Engineering

News
The Man Behind the Wonders – Bill Baker Reveals the Secrets of Structural Engineering Source: Industrial Prime William F. Baker in The Engineers on BBC World Service Source: BBC World Service Engineering the World ​Infrastructure Intelligence MORE
Awards

2015

50 Significant Structures in 50 YearsStructural Engineers Association of Illinois

2013

Best Overall ProjectAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI)

2013

Award of ExcellenceAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI)

2012

Award of Merit: World Voices Sculpture, Burj Khalifa LobbyStructural Engineers Association of Illinois

2011

GCC Technical Building Project of the YearMEED

2011

Outstanding Structure AwardInternational Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering

2011

Excellence in EngineeringASHRAE - Illinois Chapter

2010

Award: Shortlisted / Structural SystemWorld Architecture Festival

2010

Excellence in Structural Engineering: Most Innovative StructureStructural Engineers Association of Illinois

2010

International Projects Category: Outstanding ProjectNational Council of Structural Engineers Association

2010

Best Structural Design of the YearLEAF Awards

2010

Special Recognition for Technological AdvancementInternational Highrise Awards
See Also...
Al Hamra Tower – Structural Engineering

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875 North Michigan Avenue – Structural Engineering

Chicago, Illinois

Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) – Structural Engineering

Chicago, Illinois

Poly Real Estate Headquarters – Structural Engineering

Guangzhou, China

Poly Corporation Headquarters – Structural Engineering

Beijing, China

Related to This Project

Burj Khalifa Dubai, United Arab Emirates Burj Khalifa – Interiors Dubai, United Arab Emirates Burj Khalifa – MEP Dubai, United Arab Emirates