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BURJ AL ARAB HOTEL - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Description/Importance to Society
The Burj Al Arab Hotel, otherwise known as "The Tower of the Arabs", is one of the largest hotel in the world, the second-tallest in Dubai, UAE, standing at 1,053 feet tall. This hotel serves as an icon of Dubai, whose people see it as a symbol that shows Dubai's new modern trends: trends of very large, fancy, and expensive buildings. It was built to imitate the features of a sail on a boat, and it is located on an artificial island off of Dubai's Jemeirah Beach (previously called Chicago Beach). The Burj Al Arab is considered the ultimate in hotel service, hospitality, and luxury, featuring two-floor suites, butler service twenty-four hours a day, help desks on every floor, and a jacuzzi in every room. It is rated as a five-star deluxe hotel, however many describe it as the "world's only seven star hotel". The hotel also features six five-star restaurants, all massive in size and variety. The hotel is seventy floors high, holding just over two hundred rooms (all luxury suites), and takes up an area of over 1.2 million square feet. The hotel is also one of the priciest in more ways than one: it cost $650 million dollars to build, and it costs anywhere from $15 thousand to $28 thousand to stay the night. The building was completed in October, 1999 and opened just before the start of the new century in December. It is now normally labelled as the most iconic and most recognizable building in Dubai.
Design and Construction Information
Construction on the Burj Al Arab began in 1994 and spanned almost six years of construction. The Burj Al Arab was designed by British architect Tom Wright of WS Atkins PLC, while the design and construction was managed by Canadian engineer Rick Gregory. It was built by a South African constructor, Murray and Roberts and Al Habtoor Engineering. Since the hotel was built on an artificial island, the designers and construction workers needed use a civil engineering specialty. Using geotechnical engineering, they were able to secure a foundation in the island sands, a difficult task on a small, man-made island. Foundation was then held in place by a surface layer of large rocks circled with concrete and honeycomb powder. Ocean engineers were then used to protect the foundation from erosion and water damage due to the ocean surrounding the island. Due to the sheer size of the structure, construction and transportation engineers needed to bring in over seventy thousand cubic meters of concrete and nine thousand tons of steel to the site to complete the project. Once the overall structure was set in place, architects and construction engineers go in to finish the design of the rooms and suites. However, the largest problem facing the engineers was the temperature of the structure's interior. Thanks to air pressure and ocean mist, large amounts of condensation would form inside the structure, which, thanks to the Middle Eastern heat, made the structure dangerously hot. Environmental engineers were brought in to fix the problem and came up with the idea to string several cold air nozzles down from the top of the structure, and blast a one meter cold air pocket down the sail. This got rid of both the condensation and the temperature problems at the same time. Since the hotel started construction back in 1994, the sheer magnitude of such a project was a new concept to many of the engineers. Many had not taken on building a structure so large that was in such a unique shape. It was a very new and very amazing concept for architecture and civil engineering everywhere.
Dubai Architecture Info. "Burj Al Arab-Tower of the Arabs". Retrieved December 2, 2011, from
Dubai Holiday Rental. "Burj Al Arab". (2009-2010). Retrieved December 3, 2011, from
Jumeirah Group. "Welcome to the Burj Al Arab, Dubai". (2000, December). Retrieved December 3, 2011, from
Young, Adam. "Burj Al Arab: Leave the Ordinary Behind". (2011, May 3). Retrieved December 5, 2011, from
About the Writers:
Ryan Hunter and Jonathan Chiou are eighteen year old, freshman civil engineering majors studying at Texas A&M University, Class of 2015. Hunter currently lives in Flower Mound, TX, while Chiou lives in Beaumont, TX. Both look to pursue healthy careers in the engineering field.
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