On Monday the tallest building on planet Earth -- by a lot -- opens in the tiny and troubled Arab emirate of Dubai. Designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith, the Burj Dubai tower is more than 2,600 feet and 160 stories of astounding engineering. But more than anything else, it's ... just sad on arrival.
From Christopher Hawthorne:
It is mostly empty, and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Though most of its 900 apartments have been sold, virtually all were bought three years ago -- near the top of the market -- and primarily as investments, not as places to live. ("A lot of those purchases were speculative," Smith, in something of an understatement, told me in a phone interview.) And there's virtually no demand in Dubai at the moment for office space. The Burj Dubai has 37 floors of office space.
For a local look at the tower's rise and Dubai's fall, go to Arabian Money. And for a discussion of the Burj Dubai's "meteorological variability" -- as in, its diverse weather -- see Geoff Manaugh's BLDBLOG.
So when can we all go to the observation deck?