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The City That Grew Up: What Dubai's Ascent Means for Global Architects

Photo: Nick Merrick © Hedrich Blessing

Source: CNN

Forty years ago, the Dubai World Trade Center was approaching completion. At 489 feet and 39 stories, it barely registers on the city skyline today, dwarfed by steel and glass behemoths south along the Sheikh Zayed Road. But back in 1978 it was a statement of intent; the first skyscraper in Dubai and a premonition of financial and architectural growth to come.

It would take until 1999 and the Burj Al Arab before the tower would be bested for height. However, the 21st century has ushered in rapid change. April marks 10 years since construction on the Burj Khalifa reached its 160th floor, becoming the world's tallest man-made structure.


"In nature things progress through evolution. But in architecture you can create a new species out of nothing," says William Baker, structural engineering partner at Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM).

The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, "was a new creature we invented; a new animal, if you will."

Baker led the structural design of the $1.5 billion project, which lays claim to a host of other records and opened in 2010...

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