Many of the world’s capital cities are recognized by distinct buildings, making the skylines instantly recognizable. Amongst these are the Eifel Tower in Paris, the One World Trade Centre and the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
The Burj Khalifa is the largest building in the world. It contains a hotel, hotel suites, designer-created residential suites, normal residential suites, corporate suites, two observation decks, gyms, swimming pools, massage parlors, bars, restaurants, entertainment areas, and more.
There are not enough superlatives to fully describe the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building globally. There have been some potential pretenders to the throne; most of these have had construction stop and sit in a semi-finished condition.
Incredible Facts About the Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa tower took 22 million man hours to build in the space of 6 years, using 12,000 men. To put that into bigger perspective, it would take one man 114 years to build the tower by himself!
The building features 5.67 million square feet of a total built-up area, with 1.85 million square feet of that dedicated to residential spaces. In addition, 300,000 square feet are allocated to office space and corporate suites.
This excludes the area occupied by the Armani Hotel Dubai and Armani Residences, and the area occupied by five swimming pools lounges, health and wellness facilities, eight restaurants, a spa, retailers, and more.
There are more than 1,000 pieces of priceless artworks scattered throughout the Burj Khalifa, which holds more than ten world records, including tallest building in the world and world’s highest swimming pool. The building also features more than 1,500 bathrooms!
It’s sort of common knowledge that the Burj Khalifa has 163 floors, but did you know that that’s just the number of habitable levels? There are an additional 46 uninhabitable levels that simply support the spire and the building’s structure, bringing the Burj Khalifa up to a total of 209 floors.
As those living on the top floors of the Burj Khalifa can observe the setting sun for longer than those on the ground, Dubai clerics have put rules in place for Muslims living or working between levels 80 and 163:
- Levels 80-149 should wait an additional 2 minutes past official sunset to break Ramadan fast.
- Levels 150+ should wait 3 minutes.
The Burj Khalifa was named the world’s most popular landmark in August 2023. The site boasts 17 million visitors per year, or about 50,000 visitors per day!
What’s Inside the Burj Khalifa?
The Burj Khalifa has many parts within and outside its structure.
For window washing and façade maintenance, there are 18 permanently installed tracks with fixed telescopic building maintenance cradle units. These track-mounted units run smoothly along the black steel pipes strategically placed around the circumference of the Burj Khalifa mechanical levels, and are kept in special garages when not being used.
The cradles are able to access the whole facade of the building, however, this is not an overnight task. If all units are working at the same time under normal operational conditions, it would still take more than three months to clean the whole tower!
Inside the Burj Khalifa, there are an incredible variety of facilities that include:
Underground (Parking) Levels
The two underground levels (B1 and B2) provide four levels measuring 89,000m2 and provide parking space for 3,000 cars. This parking is also available for tenants who occupy the Office Annex.
The ventilation, which keeps the levels free of car exhaust smoke, can operate at 300°C for 60 minutes. If a fire takes hold, the ventilation system will keep the area free of smoke for at least 6o minutes.
Ventilation control systems for the basement levels are housed here. This is the first of eight separate mechanical stations located across the Burj Khalifa, as detailed below.
The Burj Khalifa features eight mechanical floors, located strategically throughout the building. Each mechanical section maintains up to 30 levels of flooring beneath it.
Mechanical floors house crucial equipment that keeps the building functioning smoothly. This essential infrastructure includes the electrical sub-stations, water tanks and pumps, and the air-handling units vital for operating the tower and ensuring the comfort of people who live or work in, or visit the Burj Khalifa every day.
These mechanical floors are situated at:
- Basement levels
- Levels 17-18
- Levels 40-42
- Levels 73-75
- Levels 109-110
- Levels 136-138
- Level 155
- Levels 160-163
The Armani Hotel Levels
The Armani hotel has 160 guest rooms and 144 residences and suites on the following floors:
- Concourse: Hotel Lobby
- Ground floor: Hotel Lobby
- Floors 1-8: Armani Hotel
- Floors 9-16: Armani Residences
- Floors 38-39: Armani Hotel suites
There are 900 private residences (that exclude the Armani residences) available in the Burj Khalifa. They are spread over two bands of floors, namely:
- Levels 19-37
- Levels 44-72
- Levels 77-108
Residences are available as studios and one, two, three, and four-bedroom apartments.
Prices of the apartments range from AED 1,100,000 (US$297,000) for a studio apartment through to AED 10,194,888 (US$ 2,750,000) for a four-bedroom unit.
Lobbies and Observation Deck Levels
The sky lobbies in the Burj Khalifa are public spaces for residents and visitors that function as community centers and are open for public use. The first Sky lobby is on the 43rd floor and provides views of Dubai and its surroundings.
Level 43: The Burj Khalifa Sky Lobby
The Sky lobbies lead to several community facilities, including gyms, spas, jacuzzis, and recreational areas. The spas include indoor/outdoor pools, outdoor sundecks, whirlpools, juice bars, his and her gyms, massage rooms, and locker rooms. The lobbies also serve as large areas suitable for get-togethers, cocktails, parties, and other receptions.
Level 76: Sky Lobby
A corridor connects the main entrance to two spas on level 76, featuring an ornamented ceiling, mosaic tiles, and back-lit glass plank flooring. This is also where you will find the world’s highest swimming pool.
The spas include indoor/outdoor pools, outdoor sundecks, whirlpools, juice bars, separate male and female gyms, massage rooms, and locker rooms.
Level 123: Sky Lobby
The Sky lobby on level 123 includes two spacious lounges for staff who use the commercial suites and the other for residents. As with other lobbies and lounges, access is via convenient stairs or the elevators.
Level 124-125: At The Top Observatory
The “At The Top” Observation deck provides a panoramic 360-degree view of Dubai.
The observation deck has high-powered telescopes and a public outdoor observation terrace overlooking the Dubai skyline.
Level 148: The Top Observation Deck
At 452 m (1,483 ft), the Top Observatory is the second-highest observation desk in the world. (the highest is Cloud Top 488 on the Canton Tower, Guangzhou, China). The At The Top Observatory can only be accessed via the elevators from level 124.
Corporate Suite Levels
Each corporate suite floor provides approximately 10,000ft2 of office space and about 2,750 ft2 of terrace area for corporate offices.
Should a firm consider using one entire level as a private suite, the entire office floor costs approximately AED50,000,000 (US$13,500,000) per month and includes access to lobbies and amenities.
Corporate suites are located on the following floors:
- Levels 111-121
- Levels 125-135
- Levels 139-147
- Levels 149-154
Apart from the eight exclusive restaurants located throughout the Armani Hotel levels, the Burj Khalifa also features the At.mosphere Restaurant and The Lounge
Level 122: The At.mosphere Restaurant
At 442 m above the ground, the At.mosphere Restaurant is advertised as the world’s highest restaurant. Located at level 122, the restaurant provides two facilities:
- The restaurant offers meals prepared by top chefs and priced accordingly.
- The adjacent lounge offers high tea, meals, pastries, confectionery, and English scones.
Levels 152-154: The Lounge
The world’s highest lounge is located 585 meters above the ground, at levels 152-154 inside the Burj Khalifa. The Lounge serves light meals and canapes, with house beverages and tea or coffee.
Communication and Broadcast Levels
Levels 156-159 contain the communications and broadcasting facilities. These are connected to the communications equipment in the spire and also ensure that the tower has reliable communication capabilities and can facilitate broadcasting.
- Telecommunications: These include antennas, transmitters, and receivers, which are used for various communication services, such as mobile phone networks, television broadcasting, radio broadcasting, and internet connectivity.
- Broadcasting: Designed to support television and radio broadcasting, these levels house broadcasting studios, transmission equipment, and antennas.
The communications and broadcasting levels in the Burj Khalifa are essential for ensuring that the tower can provide reliable communication services to its residents and serve as a hub for broadcasting signals across the city.
Facilities Outside The Burj Khalifa
In addition, there are two annexes built onto the Burj Khalifa and several attractions, which are:
Annex 1 – The Club
The Burj Club is a health and recreation annex to the Burj Khalifa Tower. The four stories it occupies are spread over 22,000 sq. ft. Open to the public, The Burj Club also includes both outdoor and indoor swimming pools, as well as separate male and female gyms, and a spa.
Annex 2 – The Offices
In addition to the corporate suites within the Burj Khalifa, a 12-story annex with direct access to Burj Khalifa is available for office space. Additional parking is available at Dubai Mall, which also enjoys direct access to the Office Annex.
The most notable feature is the musical fountain which features dancing jets and pools. It is rumored to have cost around AED800,000,000 to build and features 6,600 lights and 50 colorful projectors.
The fountain itself is massive, stretching 275 feet in length. It shoots water up to 150 feet high into the air while synchronized to classical, modern Arabic, and world music.
The Armani/Pavilion is an open-air venue that’s exclusively managed by Armani Hotel Dubai. Designed to host events, the Armani/Pavilion also provides unparalleled views of The Dubai Fountain.
The immediate surrounding of the Burj Khalifa has been developed into an 11-hectare park, which contains six water features, gardens, and flowering trees.
The theme for the Burj Khalifa’s landscaping is ‘A Tower in a Park’ and green spaces are divided to to serve different parts of the tower, such as the hotel, residential areas, spa, and offices.
Plants are watered by recycling water from the tower’s cooling system, which equates to around 15 million gallons of water per year!
At 828 meters (2,716.5 ft), the 200-plus story Burj Khalifa is the tallest building globally and dominates Dubai’s skyline. The building contains a hotel, many residential and corporate suites, gyms, bars, observation decks, pools, and other amenities.
It has 160 habitable floors and has become the most prestigious address in Dubai, holding multiple world records relating to its facilities.