The Burj Al Arab (Arabic: برج العرب, Tower of the Arabs) is a luxury hotel located in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Managed by Jumeirah hotel group, it is one of the tallest hotels in the world, although 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space.
Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) from Jumeirah Beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge.
The shape of the structure is designed to resemble the sail of a ship.
It has a helipad near the roof, at 210 m (689 ft) above ground.
The Burj Al Arab Site
The beachfront area where Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel are located was previously called Chicago Beach.
The hotel is located on an island of reclaimed land, 280 m (920 ft) offshore of the beach of the former Chicago Beach Hotel.
The locale’s name had its origins in the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, which at one time welded giant floating oil storage tanks, known locally as Kazzans, on the site.
The Burj Al Arab Design and construction
The Burj Al Arab was designed by the multidisciplinary consultancy Atkins, led by architect Tom Wright.
The design and construction were managed by Canadian engineer Rick Gregory, also of WS Atkins.
Construction of the island began in 1994 and involved up to 2,000 construction workers during peak construction.
It was built to resemble the billowing spinnaker sail of a J-class yacht.
Two “wings” spread in a V to form a vast “mast”, while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium.
Construction of the hotel was undertaken by Murray & Roberts, now renamed Concor and Al Habtoor Engineering.
The interior designs were led and created by Khuan Chew and John Coralan of KCA international and delivered by UAE-based Depa Group.
The building opened on 1 December 1999. Rebecca Gernon, an Irish architect, designed the hotel’s helipad.
The helipad is above the building’s 59th floor and has been used as a car race track, a boxing ring, a tennis match, and the jumping-off point for the highest kite surfing jump in history.
The Burj Al Arab Features
Several features of the hotel required complex engineering feats to achieve.
The hotel rests on an artificial island constructed 280 m (920 ft) offshore.
The builders drove 230 40-meter-long (130 ft) concrete piles into the sand to secure a foundation.
Engineers created a ground surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honeycomb pattern, protecting the foundation from erosion.
It took three years to reclaim the land from the sea, while it took fewer than three years to construct the building itself.
The building contains over 70,000 m3 (92,000 cu yd) of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel.
Inside the building, the atrium is 180 m (590 ft) tall.
The 18 storied atrium is enclosed by 12 individually tensioned two-layer membrane panels from the north-facing façade.
Given the height of the building, the Burj Al Arab is the world’s fifth tallest hotel after Gevora Hotel, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur, and Rose and Rayhaan by Rotana.
But where buildings with mixed-use were stripped off the list, the Burj Al Arab would be the world’s third tallest hotel.
The structure of the Rose Rayhaan, also in Dubai, is 333 meters (1,093 ft) tall, 12 m (40 ft) taller than the Burj Al Arab, which is 321 meters (1,053 ft) tall.