8 oct 08 | The National

Tall buildings put us on the map, says Burj Dubai architect


By Jessica Hume

In a city where it seems that almost all development seeks to be iconic, the architect behind the Burj Dubai said a greater concern is allowing buildings whose designs are different for the sake of being different and will not add anything to the social life of the city.

Adrian Smith, speaking at the World Architecture Congress at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre, discussed tall buildings and their role in developing civic identity.

"A super-tall building puts a city on a map," he said. Emaar, the Burj Dubai developer, "wanted a super-tall building to anchor the district and distinguish it from other areas".

Mission accomplished. The effect of the world's tallest construction on the city cannot be underestimated. Love it or hate it, people around the world talk about it.

In addition to raising Dubai's profile, Mr. Smith said, the building's design employs some of the latest and most advanced techniques for sustainability. Those include a wind tunnel running down the centre of the structure, having glass occupy 70 per cent of its surface area to optimize natural light indoors and a 2,000-square-metre solar-powered water heater on the roof.

It may be the tallest, but the Burj Dubai has competition from other buildings to become the symbol of Dubai. With the Burj Al Arab hotel just a few kilometres away and a handful of other super-tall buildings planned, the Burj Dubai will get a run for its money.