What amazes us? What makes a city iconic or beautiful? What comes to mind when we talk about Dubai, Paris or London? Is it just food? Culture? People? I am sure the first thing reflects the Architecture of the above cities. Be it Burj Khalifa, Eiffel Tower or Big Ben.

Pre-Architecture school, most of us do not know the importance of a space or the rationale behind its design. Take the Burj Khalifa as an example. I am very confident that nobody realized why it was a feat of architecture and one of the tallest buildings in the world until they joined the profession. Nobody was aware of the evolution and the contributing variables that resulted in life required a combination of visionary ideals and solid science. Even regarding living conditions, nobody questioned the why of the architecture or how the particular space can affect us. Let us look at the Burj Khalifa from the perspective of an architect. To further comprehend my perspective on the Burj Khalifa, consider the following characteristics that an architect considers anytime he sees a skyscraper:

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Reflection of architecture-(Burj Khalifa Skyline)_©https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/584459/burj-khalifa-dubai-facts

The Vision

The Burj Khalifa has reflected on the idea of changing the city from a deserted land to global tourism and economic magnet. It depicts the victory of abilities and creativity, as well as flawless amazement. This huge undertaking eventually opened to the public in 2010, six years after it was completed. 

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Reflection of architecture-(At the top of Burj Khalifa)_©https://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en/the-tower/gallery/

Concept and Planning of Building

The building incorporates a three-lobed footprint, which is an abstraction of the Hymenocallis flower. The tower is made up of three components that are organized around a central core. The modular, Y-shaped construction, with setbacks along each of its three wings, gives an intrinsically stable structure and appropriate floor plates for residential

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Reflection of architecture-(Hymenocallis Spider Lily, a regional desert flower)_©https://factslegend.org/20-facts-burj-khalifa/

As the tower spirals upward, the cross-section of the tower is gradually reduced by 26 helical levels. At the summit, the centre core emerges and culminates in a carved spire. The Arabian Gulf is best seen from a Y-shaped floor plan. From the ground or in the air, the Burj Khalifa resembles the onion domes common in Islamic architecture. The building includes 163 habitable floors plus 46 maintenance levels in the spire and 9 parking levels in the basement with the floor area of 309,473 sq.m. The structure stands 828 metres tall. 

Wind Tunnel Testing

Over 40 wind tunnel tests were performed on the Burj Khalifa to investigate the impact of wind on the skyscraper and its occupants. These included preliminary experiments to validate Dubai’s wind climate, big structural analysis models and facade pressure tests, and micro-climate analysis of the effects at terraces and around the tower base. Even the temporary circumstances on the tower during the construction stage were checked to always ensure safety. The stack effect, also known as the chimney effect, is a phenomenon that impacts supertall building design and is caused by variations in pressure and temperature with height. Special studies were conducted on the Burj Khalifa to estimate the magnitude of the adjustments that would be required in the building’s design.

Aesthetic and Ambiance | Reflection of architecture

The unitized curtain wall has a surface area of 1.2 million square feet and is made up of approximately 28,000 prefabricated panels of double-layer glass set within extruded aluminum frames. Stainless steel fins in the shape of spearheads highlight the mullions and hide the angled seams between adjacent panels. Because the façade is curved to diffuse sunlight, this huge architectural skin modulates the light, heat, wind, and dust of the Dubai desert. Sunguard Solar Silver 20, which transmits only 20% of visible light and 15% of solar energy, would have turned a flat curtain wall into a blinding mirror. Since the curved glass was out of the question, the rounded look was produced with flat panels with angled joints hidden below the fins. The panels have no horizontal ledges to prevent dust accumulation. Window-washing equipment are housed at four different heights along the elevation.

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Reflection of architecture-(Facade of the Burj Khalifa)_©https://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en/the-tower/gallery/


Today, as an architect, our focus is on planning, climate-responsive design, sustainability, services, fire safety, building height, and building scale. Because of the rising need for sustainable design and green buildings, the sustainable notion is gaining traction among the architectural community. Although the Burj Khalifa was built before the Middle East began to adopt a sustainable agenda, its developer did incorporate sustainability goals into its design. 

(Burj Khalifa Tower Park)_©Tom Fox and SWA Group

The environmental impact assessment contributed to the building’s sustainable design, which includes a large scale solar collector surface that supplies up to 25% of the tower’s hot water demand, lighting control systems and fittings that use low-carbon lamp technologies and high-frequency control gears, and automated solar shading blinds that help regulate temperature by reducing the amount of solar radiation absorbed in entrance lobbies.

Summary | Reflection of architecture

Architecture exists at its core to create the physical environment in which people live. Nevertheless, architecture is more than simply the constructed environment; it is also a component of our culture. It represents how we see ourselves as well as how we perceive the environment. 

If I were to visit the Burj Khalifa without the vision of an architect, I would disregard all the aforementioned factors. The only thing that would astonish me is the building’s aesthetic look and height. 


Aishwary defines himself as a young architect engaged in a global society. He is a meticulous learner and a productive designer. Having lived in multiple cities across the globe, he learned that there is an ascending need for architects sensitive to cultural, environmental, and economic differences in regions.