Burj Khalifa (Arabic: برج خليفة “Khalifa Tower”), was known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the tallest man-made structure ever built in the world, at 828 m (2,717 ft). Construction began on 21 September 2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009. The building officially opened on 4 January 2010,and is part of the new 2 km2 (490-acre) flagship development called Downtown Dubai at the ‘First Interchange’ along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai’s main business district.
The tower’s architecture and engineering were performed by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill of Chicago, with Adrian Smith as chief architect, and Bill Baker as chief structural engineer. The primary contractor was Samsung C&T of South Korea.
The project’s completion coincided with the global financial crisis of 2007–2010, and with vast overbuilding in the country, led to high vacancies and foreclosures. With Dubai mired in debt from its huge ambitions, the government was forced to seek multibillion dollar bailouts from its oil rich neighbor Abu Dhabi. Subsequently, in a surprise move at its opening ceremony, the tower was renamed Burj Khalifa, said to honour the UAE President, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his crucial support.
At the foot of the Burj Dubai is an 11 hectare park with grass, trees and water features. The garden is watered by condensate from the Burj Dubai tower cooling equipment, about 15 million gallons of water per year, or enough to fill 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.