DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Dubai is set to open the world’s tallest building amid tight security today, celebrating the tower as a bold feat on the world stage despite the city-state’s shaky financial footing.
But the final height of the Burj Dubai – Arabic for Dubai Tower – remained a closely guarded secret on the eve of its opening. At a reported height of 2,684 feet, it long ago vanquished its nearest rival, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan.
The Burj’s record-seeking developers, Emaar Properties, didn’t stop there.
The building boasts the most stories and highest occupied floor of any building in the world, and ranks as the world’s tallest structure, beating out a television mast in North Dakota. Its observation deck – on floor 124 – also sets a record.
“We weren’t sure how high we could go,” said Bill Baker, the building’s structural engineer, in Dubai for the inauguration. “It was kind of an exploration … a learning experience.”
Baker said early designs for the Burj had it edging out the the Taipei 101 by about 33 feet. The Taiwan tower rises 1,667 feet.
The Burj’s developer kept pushing the design higher even after construction began, eventually putting it about 984 feet taller than its nearest competitor, Baker said. He is keeping quiet about the exact height.