x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Project will probably remain world's tallest for the near future

An interview with Jan Klerks, the research and communications manager for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Interview with Jan Klerks, the research and communications manager for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. What impact has the financial crisis had on tall building plans? The financial crisis has enhanced the chances for the Burj Dubai remaining the world's tallest building for an extended period of time. For how long precisely, I can only guess. At this moment, the Kingdom Tower project in Saudi Arabia seems to be the most serious contender for that title, but planning a next world tallest and actually completing one can be quite a difference. One day, someone will top the Burj Dubai.

Why do cities aim to build tall towers and how does being the tallest help to shape and define them? From a more global perspective, there has been a growing increase in urbanisation in history and as such, tall buildings seem to make sense. It takes a thorough process of urban planning to ensure typical urban functions don't get in each other's way and create unpleasant environments because of it.

What does the tower mean for Dubai? Put your name and that of the Burj Dubai on an envelope and no postal service in the world will have problems delivering the mail. Like no other building, the Burj Dubai embodies the development of Dubai in becoming a global city. In a way, the building is the biggest city marketing campaign Dubai could have come up with. Burj Dubai is about 818 metres. What height will its eventual successor surpass and is it possible to keep building higher and higher?

Ask that question to an engineer and he will reply by asking "how tall do you want it to be?". In general, the deeper the pockets and the bigger the ambitions, the taller the building. In these cases, value is not only the net revenue of an investment, but also the indirect ways a building creates value, such as branding and marketing. Also, the way the Burj Dubai has been developed in conjunction with it surrounding "Burj Dubai" area is different from any generic tall buildings, which are usually developed as stand-alone projects.

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