Burj al-Arab (Tower of the Arabs) is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the third tallest hotel in the world (although 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space). Burj Al Arab is nestled in an artificial island 280 meters away from the beach, Jumeirah beach .
The shape of Burj al Arab was inspired by the sail of the ship to reflect Dubai′s seafaring heritage combined with a modern aspect moving forwards into the future. The luxury hotel sits on a reclaimed land 280 meters offshore
The client wanted a building that would become an iconic or symbolic statement for Dubai; this is very similar to Sydney with its Opera House, London with Big Ben, or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the country.
Fletcher Construction from New Zealand was the lead joint venture partner in the initial stages of pre-construction and construction. The hotel was built by South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts and Al Habtoor Engineering.
The foundation was created on a reclaimed land by driving 230 concrete piles into the sand, each pile was 40 meters (130 feet ) The reclamation of the land from the sea took 3 years, as engineers created a ground/surface layer of large rocks. To avoid the risk of flooding, perforated concrete blocks were mounted on the bedrock in a honeycomb pattern designed to act as a giant artificial ‘sponge’ and reduce the wave impact. Burj Al-Arab experienced an unusual situation where they had to build the foundation without even connecting it to the bedrock. Engineers designed a foundation that relies on skin friction.
The façade is covered with two layers of architectural fabric, separated by 60 cm, in order to filter out excessive heat and sunlight.
Burj Al Arab holds only 28 double-storey floors which accommodate 202 bedroom suites. The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 m2 (1,820 sq ft), the largest covers 780 m2 (8,400 sq ft) . Each of the 202 hotel suites consists of two levels, with a curved façade and balcony on the upper floor. These were prefabricated and installed on site into the concrete structure. To achieve adequate stiffness, giant metal trusses with a triangular section, each measuring 85 m long, were used on the exterior side walls. These have the effect of diagonally bracing the two side trusses and the large concrete ‘mast’. These trusses can expand and contract by up to 5 cm in a day, and to accommodate this a special steering linkage rod had to be designed.
The hotel is also notable for its two distinctive restaurants. Al Muntaha (The Ultimate) is 200 m (660 ft) above the Persian Gulf, a C-section design that projects out at 30 m from each side of the central ‘mast’ column. This is supported by a cantilever extending 27 m (89 ft) from either side of the mast, and a series of 1.6 m thick steel beams that fan out from the column towards the restaurant edges.
The Al Mahara (Oyster) features a large seawater aquarium and is accessed via a simulation of a submarine voyage. The wall of the acrylic glass tank is 18 cm (7.1 in) thick to withstand the water pressure.The atrium is 180 m (590 ft) tall. As one of the most luxurious hotels in the world (the only one to have been given the unofficial commendation of ‘7 stars’ by the media), the interior was designed to be palatial and eclectic