EventsBurj Khalifa: A new paradigm

Burj Khalifa: A new paradigm

William F. Baker

SOM, Chicago, USA

Event from
09 June
Photo from William F. Baker



With 828 m height, the skyscraper Burj Khalifa in Dubai breaks all records and is the world’s highest building. The architecture and civil engineering office Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)/Chicago, leader of design works, has developed a new system for the load-bearing structure – the so-called buttressed core. This system is a hexagonal core, strengthened by three buttresses forming a Y. The development of this new system together with some important technological innovations was a basic condition in view of the implementation of this unique building.

After a construction period of 6 years, Burj Khalifa has been completed in January 2010. From the beginning, the skyscraper has been at the centre of an extensive urban development with a surrounding basic structure, neighbouring 6 floor office buildings, and equipped with a 2 storey leisure area including a swimming pools. On its height of 828 m the Burj Khalifa accommodates 160 floors. The building holds records in three categories acknowledged by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH): highest building in the world in view ­of architectural height, highest occupied floor and height to tip.

William F. Baker

William F. Baker, as responsible structural and civil engineer, led the design team of Burj Khalifa and is especially known for the design of extraordinarily tall buildings.
Moreover, William F. Baker is responsible for a number of extraordinary buildings such as, for example, the ­GM Entry Pavilion and the Millennium Park‘s Jay Pritzker Pavilion or also the BP Pedestrian Bridge. He is also known for his wide-spanning roof structures such as the Korean Air Lines Operations Hangar and the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

In addition to working for SOM, William F. Baker works together with organisations of higher education as well as different other organisations. In 2011, he won the ASCE Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Lifetime Award for Design and has been awarded in 2010 the gold medal of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE). In 2009, he was the first American to win the German Fritz Leohnhardt Prize. William Baker is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE). 

Projekt von William F. Baker – Baker Burj Khalifa Skizze
Burj Khalifa
Projekt von  – Climate Innovation District
Burj Khalifa; Photo: SOM