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Dubai's Burj Khalifa: Sky-high ambition

Dubai has one or two debt problems but that didn’t get in the way of a big party. On January 4, the city played host to 6,000 guests to celebrate the opening ceremony of the Burj Khalifa (formerly the Burj Dubai), which at 828 metres is the world’s tallest building. As with all things Dubai, the opening ceremony was fabulously over the top. It featured a display of 10,000 fireworks and light beams projected on and around the tower. The show was split into three parts including a portion where sky tracers and space cannons enveloped the tower in a halo of white light, which expanded as the lighting rig on the spire activated.

The building has taken six years to construct and the scale of the project is immense. The total amount of aluminium used weighs as much as five A380 aircraft. The total length of gaskets would reach from Dubai to Damascus if laid end to end.

The building has 206 floors and includes a hotel (designed by Giorgio Armani), luxury apartments and office space. There’s even an observatory on the 124th floor. The tower is the centrepiece of Downtown Dubai, a $20 billion, 202-hectare development project overseen by Emaar.

What Dubai’s creditors made of the party who knows? But let’s hope the tenants can pay the rent.

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