31 October, 2006

Impressive. Most impressive...

World's Tallest Tower Rising in Dubai

*fade in to the theme song from The Jeffersons*

...Well, we're movin' on up!

Moooovin' on up!

...to a deee-luxe apartment, in the sky-yyy

From the article...

Slated to become the world's tallest skyscraper and symbol of a city given to grandiose projects, "Burj Dubai," or Dubai Tower, is rising in parallel with the profits of its promoter, Emaar Properties.

With two stories added every week, Burj Dubai is taking shape as the centerpiece of a 20-billion-dollar venture featuring the construction of a new district, "Downtown Burj Dubai," that will house 30,000 apartments and the world's largest shopping mall.

Launched in early 2004, the construction of the tower by South Korea' s Samsung should be completed at the end of 2008 and cost one billion dollars, according to Greg Sang, the Emaar official in charge of Burj Dubai.

Burj Dubai already has 79 stories, taking its height to more than 200 meters (656 feet). But even after having gone that far, Emaar is still not revealing the tower's final height. "At the moment, we are not answering. We'll say it (will be) more than 700 meters (2,296 feet) and more than 160 stories... The people who need to know, know," Sang, a 40-year-old New Zealander, told AFP.

The world's tallest inhabited building is "Taipei 101" in Taiwan, which is 508 meters (1,666 feet) tall.

A minimum of 700 meters/2,296 feet... That's almost half a mile high. The Wikipedia article suggests the building could possibly top out at anywhere from 162 to 195 floors, and from 916 to 940 meters... That's 3,084 feet. I can barely describe a manmade structure of these proportions without resorting to astonished profanity. The official website can be seen here.

If that's not "wow" enough, there are rumors that another skycraper project, Al Burj, a mere 30 miles away, will rival or even surpass Burj Dubai in height.


As an aside, Dubai has been known for quite a while now for its poor treatment of foreign workers, especially those of non-Western origin. The complaints and accusations included low pay, poor conditions, various forms of exploitation, etc. In March, 2006, rioting broke out among workers at the Burj Dubai and other construction sites within the emirate. The upshot is that by the end of that month, Dubai announced that it was reversing (as a matter of official policy, anyway...) its longstanding prohibitions against the formation of labor unions. This, in addition to the loosening of restrictions on foreign ownership of property in recent years (Dubai's population is around 80% immigrant, and there is no naturalization of foreigners).

An overwhelmingly foreign population which is overwhelmingly responsible for the face and facts of daily modern life in the area, very slowly gaining and being granted expanding rights and growing an ever-larger societal stake under an un-elected, and sometimes oppressive government. Hmm... Keep an eye on this place.

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