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It is an understatement to say that Burj Khalifa represents the state-of-the-art in building design. From initial concept through completion, a combination of several important technological innovations and innovation structural design methods have resulted in a superstructure that is both efficient and robust.
Elevators & Lifts
Burj Khalifa will be home to 57 elevators and 8 escalators The building service/fireman's elevator will have a capacity of 5,500 kg and will be the world's tallest service elevator.
Burj Khalifa will be the first mega-high rise in which certain elevators will be programmed to permit controlled evacuation for certain fire or security events. Burj Khalifa's Observatory elevators are double deck cabs with a capacity for 12-14 people per cab. Traveling at 10 metres per second, they will have the world's longest travel distance from lowest to highest stop.
Fire safety and speed of evacuation were prime factors in the design of Burj Khalifa. Concrete surrounds all stairwells and the building service and fireman's elevator will have a capacity of 5,500 kg and will be the world's tallest service elevator. Since people can't reasonably be expected to walk down 160 floors, there are pressurized, air-conditioned refuge areas located approximately every 25 floors.
In addition to its aesthetic and functional advantages, the spiraling Y shaped plan was utilized to shape the structural core of Burj Khalifa. This design helps to reduce the wind forces on the tower, as well as to keep the structure simple and foster constructability. The structural system can be described as a buttressed core, and consists of high performance concrete wall construction. Each of the wings buttress the others via a six-sided central core, or hexagonal hub. This central core provides the torsional resistance of the structure, similar to a closed pipe or axle. Corridor walls extend from the central core to near the end of each wing, terminating in thickened hammer head walls. These corridor walls and hammerhead walls behave similar to the webs and flanges of a beam to resist the wind shears and moments. Perimeter columns and flat plate floor construction complete the system. At mechanical floors, outrigger walls are provided to link the perimeter columns to the interior wall system, allowing the perimeter columns to participate in the lateral load resistance of the structure; hence, all of the vertical concrete is utilized to support both gravity and lateral loads. The result is a tower that is extremely stiff laterally and torsionally. It is also a very efficient structure in that the gravity load resisting system has been utilized so as to maximize its use in resisting lateral loads.
As the building spirals in height, the wings set back to provide many different floor plates. The setbacks are organized with the towers grid, such that the building stepping is accomplished by aligning columns above with walls below to provide a smooth load path. As such, the tower does not contain any structural transfers. These setbacks also have the advantage of providing a different width to the tower for each differing floor plate. This stepping and shaping of the tower has the effect of confusing the wind: wind vortices never get organized over the height of the building because at each new tier the wind encounters a different building shape
The exterior cladding is comprised of reflective glazing with aluminum and textured stainless steel spandrel panels and stainless steel vertical tubular fins. Close to 26,000 glass panels, each individually hand-cut, were used in the exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa. Over 300 cladding specialists from China were brought in for the cladding work on the tower. The cladding system is designed to withstand Dubai's extreme summer heat, and to further ensure its integrity, a World War II airplane engine was used for dynamic wind and water testing. The curtain wall of Burj Khalifa is equivalent to 17 football (soccer) fields or 25 American football fields.