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Burj Khalifa: A New Paradigm

William F. Baker
SOM, Chicago, USA

The Burj Khalifa, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), is one for the record books. At 828 m, it shatters all previous height records and now holds the title of World’s Tallest Manmade Structure. Beginning with a clear idea of the structure and using a design technique rooted in the first principles of engineering, the SOM team created a new structural system called the “buttressed-core”, consisting of a hexagonal core, strengthened by three buttresses forming a Y-shape. The creation of this new system, coupled with several important technological innovations, has produced a building of unprecedented height.


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