Scraping the Skies

By Sumayyah Meehan, MMNS

Nowhere else in the world is the rate of construction booming as loud and fast as it is in the Middle East. Skyscrapers, twisted giants of steel and glass, are being put up faster than the ink can dry on the construction contracts. With the oil sector exploding like never before, the skyscraper race is set to grow like a stubborn weed with countries in the Gulf competing as to who can build the tallest or most technologically advanced buildings the World has ever seen.

Dubai is the hands-down capital of the Gulf skyscraper boom. Leading the path and reaching untold of heights is the ‘Burj Dubai’, or ‘Dubai Tower’. At an estimated cost of over $4 billion USD, the Dubai Tower is expected to be completed in 2009 and will be the tallest man-made structure in the entire World. The exact height of the structure is being kept confidential, as there are currently other countries in the world trying to build the tallest building to surpass Dubai. The Dubai Tower will include the first ever Georgio Armani hotel and the entire interior of the skyscraper will be designed specially by the Designer. It will also have private apartments, suites and corporate offices. The Dubai Towers will also have the World’s fastest elevator with a speed of 18 m/s.

In addition to the Dubai Tower, there are scores of other supertall buildings going up in Dubai. Included in Dubai’s construction boom is ’23 Marina’ which, once complete in 2009, will be the World’s second tallest residential tower with 89 floors, 57 swimming pools and with each condo featuring its very own private elevator. Another supertall skyscraper called ‘Al Yaquob Tower’ is also currently under construction in Dubai. It is expected to be completed this year and will stand tall with 72 floors at 1,082 feet. The building will be shaped like a clock tower and will feature a real clock at the top, which will set the record for the tallest working clock in the Middle East and the World.

Nipping right behind Dubai’s heels is Kuwait. The ‘Al-Hamra Tower’ is already under construction in Kuwait City. It will be a 77 floor commercial complex that will also offer prime office space. The tower will also include a high-end luxury mall and several IMAX Theaters. Upon completion in 2010, Al-Hamra Tower will be the tallest building in Kuwait and will be among the top 25 tallest structures in the World. And not one to stand in Dubai’s shadow, Kuwait is also planning to build the tallest building in the World although it is estimated that once started it will take at least 25 years to complete. The ‘Mubarak al-Kabir Tower’ will stand at an astounding 1,001 meters tall. It will be both a residential and commercial complex able to house 7,000 people. Designs for the project have already been released to the media and research is currently underway to perfect the design so that the main factor of sheer enormity will not derail the project. The higher a building is, the more susceptible it is to high winds–which poses a direct danger to humans both inside and outside of the structure.

Bahrain is yet another Gulf State to jump on the bandwagon in an attempt to build the World’s largest skyscraper. With the completion date still pending, ‘The Murjan Tower’ will be a full 21 meters higher than the ‘Mubarak al-Kabir Tower’ in Kuwait to stand tall at 1,022 meters. It is already being touted as the most luxurious building that the world has ever seen containing the world’s largest shopping mall.

When scraping the sky, no doubt there will always be a new building set to overtake the next in size, grandeur and elegance. The only question that remains is will there be any humans brave enough to live or work in them?


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