Burj Khalifa rises gracefully from the desert and honors Dubai with its extraordinary union of art, engineering and meticulous craftsmanship. At 828 meters (2,716.5 ft.), the equivalent of a 200-story building, Burj Khalifa has 160 habitable levels, the most of any building in the world. In 2003, as a result of an international design competition, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) was selected from a group of five international competitors to carry out the architecture and engineering of the Burj Khalifa.
SOM incorporated patterns and elements from traditional Islamic architecture, but the most inspiring muse was a regional desert flower, the Hymenocallis, whose harmonious structure is one of the organizing principles of the tower's design. Three 'petals' are arranged in a triangular shape and unified at the center, and instead of repeated identical patterns, the architectural plan appoints successively receding and rotated stories.
To support the unprecedented height of the building, the engineers developed a new structural system called the buttressed core, which consists of a hexagonal core reinforced by three buttresses that form the 'Y' shape.