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 Burj Al Arab

General information:

Location: Dubai, UAE

Building features:


-         Top floor 200 m (656 ft)

-         Floor count 60

-         Floor area 111,500 m² (1,2000,000 sq ft)


-         The world's tallest hotel till 2008 topped by Rose tower

-         Hotel rating: 5-1/2 stars

-         Room and Suite: 202. 

-         Nightly rate: from AED 4600 (US. $1252).

-         Underwater dining, Rolls Royce taxi service.

-         The Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 metres (919 ft) out from Jumeirah beach, and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge

-         the atrium is 180 m (590 ft) tall.


-         Antenna/Spire 321 m (1,053 ft) Roof 210 m (689 ft)

Mechanical system

-         18 Elevator


During the construction phase, to lower the interior temperature, the building was cooled by half-degree increments over a period of three to six months. This was to prevent large amounts of "condensation or in fact even a rain cloud from forming in the hotel during the period of construction." This task was accomplished by several cold air nozzles, which point down from the top of the ceiling, and blast a 1 meter cold air pocket down the inside of the sail. This creates a buffer zone, which controls the interior temperature without massive energy costs.


The building is design to resemble the sail of a dhow, a type of 1994-1999  Arabian vessel with two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast" that enclose a massive atrium

One of its restaurants, Al Muntaha (Arabic meaning "Highest" or "Ultimate"), is located 200 meters above the Persian Gulf, offering a view of Dubai. It is supported by a full cantilever that extends 27 meters from either side of the mast, and is accessed by a panoramic elevator.

Another restaurant, the Al Mahara (Arabic "The Oyster"), which is accessed via a simulated submarine voyage, features a large seawater aquarium, holding roughly 35,000 cubic feet (over one million liters) of water. The tank, made of acrylic glass in order to reduce the magnification effect, is about 18 cm (7.5 inches) thick. The restaurant was also voted among the top ten best restaurants of the world by Condé Nast Traveler. They have recently hired acclaimed chef Kevin McLaughlin.

Architect: Tom Wright, Atkins, British’s largest largest multidisciplinary consultancy

Owners: built by Said Khalil, managed by the Jumeirah Group


Contractor: South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts.


-         Construction start date:  1994

-         Finish: 1999

-         Concrete volume: --70,000 m3 (92,000 cu yd)

-         Steel: 9,000 tons

-         Weight of rebar ---- metric tons

-         Area of glass ----- square meters (--- million square feet)

-         Construction labor --- million man-hour.

-         Cost: $650 million.


The builfing was built  on an artificial island constructed 280 m (920 ft) offshore. The foundation is support by 230 forty-meter (130 ft) long concrete friction piles in sand.  Engineers created a surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honeycomb pattern, which serves to protect the foundation from erosion. The construction of foundaton base took three years to completed.


The building design features a steel exoskeleton wrapped around a reinforced concrete tower. Notably the building is shaped like the sail of a dhow, with two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast". The space between the wings is enclosed by a Teflon-coated fibreglass sail, curving across the front of the building and creating an atrium inside. The sail is made of a material called Dyneon, spanning over 161,000 square feet (15,000 m²), consists of two layers, and is divided into twelve panels and installed vertically. The fabric is coated with DuPont Teflon to protect it from harsh desert heat, wind, and dirt; as a result, "the fabricators estimate that it will hold up for up to 50 years.

During the day, the white fabric allows a soft, milky light inside the hotel, whereas a clear glass front would produce blinding amounts of glare and a constantly increasing temperature. At night, both inside and outside, the fabric is lit by color-changing lights.

Near the top of the building is a suspended helipad supported by a cantilever. The helipad has featured some of the hotel's notable publicity events. Irish singer Ronan Keating shot his music video Iris on the helipad. In March 2004, professional golfer Tiger Woods hit several golf balls from the helipad into the Persian Gulf, while in February 2005, professional tennis players Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played an unranked game on the helipad, which was temporarily converted into a grass tennis court, at a height of 211 meters. The helipad has no borders or fences on the edges and if a player hit a winner the tennis balls would plunge down to the ground.


Equivalent to UBC 97 seismic zone 2A


Basic wind speed 26 meter per second mean value (58 mph fastest mile), or 45 meter per second for 3 second gust (101 mph).