Standing at the heart of downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa has been designed not only to be the world’s tallest building but to embody the greatest aspirations of the Middle East which are dynamic, successful and prosperous.
Burj Khalifa started its construction on September 21, 2004 and projected its completion in September 2009. Its total budget originally amounted to US$ 4.1 billion and for the entire ‘Downtown Dubai’ project was US$ 20 billion.
The building is part of the 2 km2 property development called ‘Downtown Burj Khalifa’ along Sheikh Zayed Road at the Financial Centre Road (formerly known as Doha Street).
As of January 17, 2009, Burj Khalifa has become the world’s tallest freestanding structure with 818 m (2,684 ft) in height. It is the tallest structure in the world with the most floors of 160, highest vertical concrete pumping for a building with 601 m (1,972 ft) and the first world’s tallest structure in history that includes a residential space.
It has surpassed the 553-metre- (1,824.9 ft ) CN Tower in Toronto Canada which recorded the world’s tallest standing structure in the world since 1976. Burj Khalifa has also surpassed the Warsaw Radio Mast in Konstantynow, Poland and Taiwan’s Taipei 101 which is 508 meters (1,676.4 ft) in height.
Burj Khalifa tower’s architect is Adrian Smith who partners with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the world-renowned leader in constructing mega structures. The traditional Islamic Architecture has been incorporated by Smith in the creation of Burj Dubai. The Burj Dubai Tower’s design is inspired by a flower Hymenocallis that can be found in Dubai, India and throughout the region. Smith has drawn his inspiration from the flower’s harmonious structure into the making of the tower’s design.
Burj Khalifa is a collaborative effort of immigrant engineers and workers from Pakistan, India, China, Bangladesh and the Philippines. There has been a delay in the construction way back in 2008 when migrant construction workers staged a demonstration due to very low wages. It has captured worldwide attention after the protests turned violent, causing damage to property. Some 500 migrant workers have been arrested for violent protests.
This incident involving the plight of migrant workers employed at Burj Khalifa construction site prompted Human Rights Watch group to publish a report on the UAE’s unjust treatment and exploitation of migrant workers such as low wages, years of indebtedness to recruitment agencies for fees under UAE law, the withholding of employee’s passports, and the extremely hazardous working conditions resulting to deaths and injuries of workers.
The Human Rights Watch also presented some recommendations to the UAE government to improve the working conditions of migrant workers and they lauded the government’s swift response on making efforts to better the plight of migrant workers in the region.
However, migrant workers still receive $106 to $250 monthly while the national average wage is over $2,000 per month until now. Forming of trade unions in the UAE is highly prohibited in the UAE.