Source AP ©

Burj Dubai to become the world's tallest building

The developer of a Dubai skyscraper set to become the world's tallest building says the rising tower now stands at a "new record height" of 2,257 feet or 688 meters.

Emaar Properties says the skyscraper - known as Burj Dubai - now has "more than 160 stories." Its exterior is almost done and work has started on the interior.

The company's Monday statement gave no other details. The silvery steel-and-glass building's final height is a secret.

Last summer, the developer announced the building surpassed Taiwan's Taipei 101 which has dominated the global skyline at 1,667 feet or 508 meters since 2004.

In the four years of construction, Emaar twice postponed the skyscraper's finish, now slated for September 2009.

Burj Dubai is a skyscraper under construction in the Business Bay district of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is the tallest man-made structure on Earth, despite being incomplete. Construction began on September 21, 2004, and it is expected to be completed and ready for occupation in September 2009.

The building is part of the 2 km2 (0.8 sq mi) development called 'Downtown Dubai' and is located at the "First Interchange" (aka "Defence Roundabout") along Sheikh Zayed Road at Doha Street. The tower's architect is Adrian Smith who worked with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) until 2006. SOM is the architecture and engineering firm in charge of the project. The primary builders are Samsung Engineering & Construction and Besix along with Arabtec. Turner Construction Company was chosen as the construction manager.

The total budget for the Burj Dubai project is about US$4.1 billionand for the entire new 'Downtown Dubai', US$20 billion. Mohamed Ali Alabbar, the CEO of Emaar Properties, speaking at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat 8th World Congress, said that the price of office space at Burj Dubai had reached $4,000 per sq ft and that the Armani Residences, also in Burj Dubai, were selling for $3,500 per sq ft

As of 1 September 2008, Burj Dubai had reached a height of 688 m (2,257 ft), with 160 completed floors. Although fan websites report that the tower has risen higher since that time, no official height increase has been reported. The developers announced that they will not update the tower’s current height until it is complete.

Though unconfirmed, Burj Dubai has been rumoured to have undergone several planned height increases since its inception. Originally proposed as a virtual clone of the 560 m (1,837 ft) Grollo Tower proposal for Melbourne, Australia's Docklands waterfront development, the tower was redesigned with an original design by Skidmore Owings and Merrill seen above and discussed below. This design should put it at approximately 705 m (2,313 ft). Contradictory information abounds regarding the official height of the building, which is to be expected, considering the building seeks to acquire the designation as the world's tallest structure upon completion in 2009. One website mentions a rumoured final height of 916 m (3,005 ft) in a September 28, 2006 posting, but this is contradicted by a September 20, 2006 article listing a height over 940 m (3,084 ft).

The design architect, Adrian Smith, felt that the upper-most section of the building did not culminate elegantly with the rest of the structure, so he sought and received approval to increase it to the currently planned height. It has been explicitly stated that this change did not include any added floors, which is fitting with Smith's attempts to make the crown more slender. However, the top of the tower has a steel frame structure, unlike the lower portion's reinforced concrete. The developer, Emaar, has stated this steel section may be extended to beat any other tower to the title of tallest; however, once the tower is complete, height increases will not be recognised.