24 jul 07 | Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago architect says world's tallest building still growing

By Kevin Nance

It's going to be taller -- a lot taller -- but a Chicago-designed skyscraper still under construction in the United Arab Emirates is already the tallest building in the world.

Over the weekend, the Burj Dubai, designed by Chicago architect Adrian Smith while he was a partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, reached 141 stories and 1,680 feet, said its developer, Emaar Properties. That makes it slightly higher than the world's previous tallest building, Taiwan's Taipei 101, which stands at 1,671 feet, according to Emporis, a firm that monitors building heights.

It also pushes the twin Petronas Towers in Malaysia down a step on the world's-tallest list, followed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's Sears Tower in Chicago and Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, also designed by Smith.

Smith, who started his own firm, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, told the Sun-Times that Burj Dubai's eventual height is likely to remain a carefully guarded secret until construction is complete in 2009.

But he added that the building, whose name translates to "Dubai Tower," will be substantially taller than any of its nearest rivals.

"I think it's an extraordinary event that Burj Dubai has now surpassed Taipei 101, even though the building is still a considerable way from being topped out," Smith said. "The exterior walls have been slow in coming, but overall the building is doing very well, both financially and in terms of the construction schedule."