The Burj Khalifa also speaks Spanish. In a show of solidarity, the building displayed an incredible Spanish flag with a hopeful message.
We all know the most supportive face in the face of the coronavirus, it is about the thousands of health workers in the Spanish State who play the type every day, many in conditions of extreme urgency. From here, of course, I want to convey my most energetic appreciation and thanks.
However, solidarity has other faces, that of businessmen and anonymous workers who do their best to help. This is the example of Amancio Ortega, owner of Inditex, who has donated hundreds of thousands of sanitary PPE; Kike Sarasola, who has lent his hotels for healthcare professionals to reside; or the hundreds of small businesses and thousands of people who altruistically contribute time and resources so that we can face this pandemic together.
Of course, we have to name all the food companies and their workers who play on a daily basis to supply us with basic products. To the Military Skydiving School, which manufactures 500 masks a day; and also to the small haberdasheries that contribute their valuable labor in the same mission. Even distilleries such as Pernod Ricard España, Destilerías Altosa and the Gran Canaria company Ron Arehucas have set up their facilities to produce only sanitary alcohol. We will all go out to one of this.
They also think so thousands of kilometers away, in Dubai, where the tallest skyscraper in the world has winked at us, a wink of solidarity.
The Burj Khalifa is stained red and yellow
We all know that the tallest tower in the world is in Dubai, that modern paradise that the United Arab Emirates have manufactured in a few dozen years. A tribute to the most advanced technology and a commitment to international high-altitude tourism, although rather dizzying if we look at its figures. The cost of the Burj Khalifa amounted to 1.5 billion dollars (1.14 billion euros).
Now, due to the coronavirus crisis, this unique building has seen fit to show solidarity with our country and, therefore, on March 19, it winked at us 828 meters long. At eight o’clock at night, local time, the facade of the tower was illuminated in red and yellow with the Spanish flag, to later launch two messages in Spanish with the same colors: #GraciasProfesionalesSanitarios and #EstevirusLoParamosUnidos.
The tower, which was built between 2004 and 2009 and was inaugurated in 2010, reaches 828 meters thanks to 162 floors that house 185,000 square meters of residential use. In total it has more than 1,000 apartments; 28,000 square meters of offices, spread over 49 floors; and an Armani hotel with 160 rooms.
This one also has one of the tallest swimming pools in the world on the 76th floor, and the tallest outdoor observation deck in the world on the 124th floor. In numbers the building is impressive. Inside it, more than 12,000 people from more than 100 different countries work and dedicate some 22 million hours of individual work.
Spider lily, the flower that inspired the shape of the building
The main architect of the Burj Khalifa was Adrian Smith, who at the time was with S.O.M. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. But he was not the only one, I always like to point out that in a work normally more than one technician is needed, so you can imagine that in works like this a few are needed.
The design of the building comes from the fusion of cultures, the image evoking a very important flower in Arab cultural iconography: the lily. Specifically, the Spider lily, with its Y-shaped arms that are raised in a display of unusual beauty.
Its construction is based on a reinforced concrete structure clad in glass and aluminum. This structure rises in the form of projecting volumes that diminish at different heights, until ending in a 200-meter-long needle, the largest lightning rod in the world.
This shape allows to combine resistances around a central core, the Y-shape reduces the onslaught of the wind and allows material savings, being a highly efficient structure. As a curious fact, I have to say that a total of 2,909 steps separate the ground floor from the 160, a beautiful staircase that is worth… going down?
A skyscraper that does not lack detail
Around the skyscraper, a large green space maximizes the view of its recognizable silhouette and allows its spectacular programmed lights, its pyrotechnic shows and a green space that does not lack water fountains and boulevards for the enjoyment of users and visitors to see.
Regarding the interior design, the SOM team gave the highest floors celestial influences, as if it were a spaceship; in contrast to the lower plants, which were inspired by nature, something more earthly. Of course, all the noblest materials were used in its construction: glass, stainless steel, polished stones, travertine marble, Venetian stucco, and handmade rugs.
The numbers are quite heady, 330,000 cubic meters of concrete were used, 39,000 tons of reinforced steel, 103,000 square meters of glass and 15,500 square meters of embossed stainless steel. The Burj Khalifa needs an average of 946,000 liters of water per day, so every 30 floors has a plant with storage tanks and other infrastructure.
Some 26,000 hand-cut glass panels cover the exterior surface. The gardens are watered with a system for collecting condensed water from the building, a system that allows significant savings; and the entire building is surrounded by a set of programmable strobes to run millions of prints, like the ones that led us to this article.
Hidden art in the Burj Khalifa floors
The Burj Khalifa is also a tribute to art. The hall to the residences has an exquisite work by the artist Jaume Plensa entitled World Voices, it is made up of 196 cymbals that hang from the ceiling and on which water falls, causing a unique musical noise. The skyscraper houses another 500 works of art by 85 renowned international artists, such as Evolutes by the Egyptian Karim Rashid, a sculpture of changing ovals executed with organic materials. Another curiosity is that the tower has the highest library in the world on the 123rd floor, admit it, you did not expect it.
We could talk for hours about the singularities of this skyscraper, such as the 18 jib cranes with which they clean the facades, which span 36 meters in height; its fast elevators, which were the fastest in the world in 2010; or its fantastic Sky Lobbies on floors 43, 76 and 123, areas offer spas, swimming pools, outdoor terraces, gyms and bars to enjoy leisure time. However, what fills me the most right now is knowing that more than 7,000 kilometers away they remember us and our sanitarians. Solidarity does not understand borders, but it does understand architecture..