has set its eyes (or rather two pairs of eyes) on the
to wonderful effect.
[ takes a shot at the decision to rename the tower ]
, calling the building the "Burj formerly known as Dubai".
, the magazine's architecture correspondent, writes
[ a lovely, sprawling essay on the tower that talks about its place in Dubai ]
(which he calls "a cross between Hong Kong and Las Vegas that tries to operate as if it were Switzerland").
<b>Some excerpts</b>: "The tower is a shimmering silver needle, its delicacy as startling as
its height. You would think that anything this huge would dominate the
sky, but the Burj Khalifa punctuates it instead."<br/>
Photo caption: People take photos in front of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai on January 26, 2010. Randi Sokoloff / The National
"[T]he design has an aesthetic virtue, too, giving the Burj Khalifa, for
all its twenty-first-century ingenuity, a lyrical profile that calls to
mind the skyscrapers of eighty or ninety years ago. The defining towers
of the New York sky line, at least before the Second World War, were
skinny compared with today's skyscrapers, and their vertical lines gave
intense visual pleasure."
"The profile of the Burj has a magnetism that is lacking in almost every
other super-tall building of our time. Furthermore, the tower doesn't
indulge in the showy engineering tricks that have become so common
today; it doesn't get wider as it rises, or lean to one side, or appear
to be made of broken shards. There is something appealing about a
building that relies on the most advanced engineering but doesn't
"The Burj Khalifa, like most super-tall skyscrapers, looks best from
afar, and, certainly, it can't do much to mitigate the real horror of
Dubai, which isn't the fact that most of the towers look gaudy on the
sky line but that they are wretched at street level. This is a city
that has grown with utter hostility to the idea of the street. The main
commercial thoroughfare, Sheikh Zayed Road, lined with skyscrapers, is
a twelve-lane highway. It's impossible to get anywhere here without a
car, and there is no place to walk except inside a mall."
"You don't build this kind of skyscraper to house people, or to give
tourists a view, or even, necessarily, to make a profit. You do it to
make sure the world knows who you are."