Burj Al Arab
|Location||Romero, Kyle Jerome B., Kyle 3 - إمارة دبيّ, Dubai, United Arab Emirates|
|Architectural||321 m (1,053 ft)|
|Top floor||197.5 m (648 ft)|
|Floor count||56 (3 below ground)|
|Design and construction|
|Number of rooms||202|
The Burj al-Arab (Arabic: برج العرب, Tower of the Arabs) is a hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the third tallest hotel in the world; however, 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space. Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) from Jumeirah beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to mimic the sail of a ship. However a miniature of the structure may come across as though the structure was designed to mimic a giant cobra. It has a helipad near the roof at a height of 210 m (689 ft) above ground.
The beachfront area where Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel are located was previously called Chicago Beach. The hotel is located on an island of reclaimed land 280 meters offshore of the beach of the former Chicago Beach Hotel. The locale's name had its origins in the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company which at one time welded giant floating oil storage tanks, known locally as Kazzans on the site.
The old name persisted after the old Hotel was demolished in 1997. Dubai Chicago Beach Hotel remained as the Public Project Name for the construction phase of Burj Al Arab Hotel until Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the new name.
Design and construction
Burj Al Arab was designed by multidisciplinary consultancy Atkins, led by architect Tom Wright, who has since become co-founder of WKK Architects. The design and construction were managed by Canadian engineer Rick Gregory also of WS Atkins. Construction of the Island began in 1994 and involved up to 2,000 construction workers during peak construction. It was built to resemble the billowing spinnaker sail of a J-class yacht. Two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast", while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium. The architect Tom Wright said "The client wanted a building that would become an iconic or symbolic statement for Dubai; this is very similar to Sydney with its Opera House, London with Big Ben, or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the country."[not in citation given]
Fletcher Construction from New Zealand was the lead joint venture partner in the initial stages of pre-construction and construction. The hotel was built by South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts and Al Habtoor Engineering.
The building opened in December 1999.
Several features of the hotel required complex engineering feats to achieve. The hotel rests on an artificial island constructed 280 m (920 ft) offshore. To secure a foundation, the builders drove 230 forty-meter-long (130 ft) concrete piles into the sand.
Engineers created a ground/surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honeycomb pattern, which serves to protect the foundation from erosion. It took three years to reclaim the land from the sea, while it took fewer than three years to construct the building itself. The building contains over 70,000 m3 (92,000 cu yd) of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel.
Rooms and suites
The hotel is managed by the Jumeirah Group. Despite its size, Burj Al Arab holds only 28 double-story floors which accommodate 202 bedroom suites. The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 m2 (1,820 sq ft), the largest covers 780 m2 (8,400 sq ft).
The Burj Al Arab is very popular with the Chinese market, which made up 25 percent of all bookings at the hotel in 2011 and 2012.
Al Muntaha ("The Ultimate"), is located 200 m (660 ft) above the Persian Gulf, offering a view of Dubai. It is supported by a full cantilever that extends 27 m (89 ft) from either side of the mast, and is accessed by a panoramic elevator.
Al Mahara ("Oyster"), which is accessed via a simulated submarine voyage, features a large seawater aquarium, holding roughly 990,000 L (260,000 US gal) of water. The wall of the tank, made of acrylic glass in order to withstand the water pressure, is about 18 cm (7.1 in) thick.
While the hotel is sometimes described as "the world's only seven-star hotel", the hotel management claims to never have done that themselves. In the words of a Jumeirah Group spokesperson: "There's not a lot we can do to stop it. We're not encouraging the use of the term. We've never used it in our advertising." According to the group, the "Seven-Star" notion was brought to being by a British journalist who visited the hotels on a pre-opening press trip. The journalist "described Burj al Arab in her as above and beyond anything she had ever seen and called it a seven-star hotel."
Reviews by architecture critics
Burj Al Arab has attracted criticism as well "a contradiction of sorts, considering how well-designed and impressive the construction ultimately proves to be." The contradiction here seems to be related to the hotel’s decor. "This extraordinary investment in state-of-the-art construction technology stretches the limits of the ambitious urban imagination in an exercise that is largely due to the power of excessive wealth." Another critic includes negative critiques for the city of Dubai as well: "both the hotel and the city, after all, are monuments to the triumph of money over practicality. Both elevate style over substance." Yet another: "Emulating the quality of palatial interiors, in an expression of wealth for the mainstream, a theater of opulence is created in Burj Al Arab … The result is a baroque effect".
Public relations stunts
Several events have taken place on the helipad 210 m (689 ft) above ground to attract media attention. These include :
- 2004: Tiger Woods teeing off
- 2005: Andre Agassi and Roger Federer playing tennis
- 2006: Ronan Keating shot the Music Video for his single "Iris" at the Helipad of Burj Al Arab.
- 2007: The Today Show broadcast from the Helipad a segment of Where in the World is Matt Lauer?
- 2011: Golfer Rory McIlroy performing a bunker shot.
- 2013: Heli-lift of Aston Martin Vanquish.
- 2013: David Coulthard performing donuts in a Formula 1 racecar.
- W Barcelona (Hotel Vela) - skyscraper of similar appearance in Barcelona, Spain (sail)
- Vasco da Gama Tower - similar structure in Lisbon, Portugal
- Elite Plaza - a similar-shaped skyscraper in Yerevan, Armenia
- Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower, (Panama City) - similar structure
- Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth - similar structure in Portsmouth, UK
- List of tallest buildings in the United Arab Emirates
- List of tallest buildings in Dubai
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- Solon, Olivia (2013-09-06). "Report names and shames vanity skyscrapers with unnecessary spires". Wired. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
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- "Media Fact File of Burj Al Arab" (PDF). Retrieved 23 August 2015.
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- "VIDEO: Burj Al Arab's 15th anniversary 'dream'".
- Damluji, Salma Samar, The Architecture of the U.A.E.. Reading, UK: 2006.
- Arnold, Helen "World's 15 most expensive hotel suites" CNN Go. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-11
- "Jumeirah gets ravenous for China". TTGmice. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "Hotel star ratings standards long overdue". The National. 2009-07-14. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- "World's number one player Tiger Woods tees off from the world's most luxurious hotel, Burj Al Arab" Hospitality, 9 March 2004. Accessed: 2 November 2013. Photos
- "Agassi, Federer enjoy unique experience" ESPN, 22 February 2005. Accessed: 2 November 2013. Photos
- "Video: Rory McIlroy on the Burj Al Arab Helipad" Jumeirah, 20 December 2011. Accessed: 3 November 2013.
- "Video: Aston Martin - Dubai Centenary Spectacular at Burj Al Arab" Aston Martin, 17 January 2013. Accessed: 3 November 2013.
- "VIDEO: Red Bull in sensational Dubai helipad donut demo" Crash.net, 31 October 2013. Accessed: 2 November 2013. Photos
- Rose, Steve. "Sand and Freedom", The Guardian, November 28, 2005, retrieved October 27, 2006.
- National Geographic: Megastructures
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