The Burj

The tallest structure in the world since 2008, Burj Khalifa (or Khalifa Tower) is the fantasy skyscraper of my childhood. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), with Adrian Smith and Bill Baker as chief architect and engineer, the Burj is aesthetically and structurally magnificent. No single photo can do the Burj justice, but the one below emphasizes the Y-shaped floor geometry that buttresses the central core and the complex spiral pattern of 27 setbacks that decrease the cross section. Crucially, the terraces “confuse the wind” to minimize vortex shedding vibrations, the bane of skyscraper designers.

Over a half-mile high, Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building. Photo by Stéphane Compoint.

Over a half-mile high, Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building. Photo by Stéphane Compoint.

About John F. Lindner

John F. Lindner was born in Sleepy Hollow New York and educated at the University of Vermont and Caltech. He is a professor of physics and astronomy at The College of Wooster. He has enjoyed multiple yearlong sabbaticals at Georgia Tech, University of Portland, and University of Hawai'i. His research interests include nonlinear dynamics, celestial mechanics, and variable stars.
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