Several features of the hotel required complex engineering feats to achieve. The hotel rests on an artificial island constructed 280 meters offshore. To secure a foundation, the builders drove 230 40-meter long concrete piles into the sand. The foundation is held in place not by bedrock, but by the friction of the sand and silt along the length of the piles.

Engineers created a surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honey-comb pattern, which serves to protect the foundation from erosion. It took three years to reclaim the land from the sea, but less than three years to construct the building itself. The building contains over 70,000 cubic meters of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel.

Inside the building, the atrium is 180 meters (590 ft) tall. During the construction phase, to lower the interior temperature, the building was cooled by half-degree increments over a period of three to six months. This was to prevent large amounts of “condensation or in fact even a rain cloud from forming in the hotel during the period of construction.” This task was accomplished by several cold air nozzles, which point down from the top of the ceiling, and blast a 1 meter cold air pocket down the inside of the sail. This creates a buffer zone, which controls the interior temperature without massive energy costs.[citations needed]

Burj Al Arab characterizes itself as the world’s only “7-star” property, a designation considered by travel professionals to be hyperbole. All major travel guides and hotel rating systems have a 5-star maximum, which some hotels attempt to out-do by ascribing themselves “6-star” status. Yet according to the Burj Al Arab’s official site, the hotel is a “5-star deluxe hotel”. It is the world’s tallest structure with a membrane façade and the world’s tallest hotel (not including buildings with mixed use) and was the first 5-star hotel to surpass 1,000 ft (305 m) in height.

Although it is characterized as the world’s only 7-Star Hotel, several “7 Star” hotels are under construction. These include the Flower of the East under construction in Kish, Iran, The Centaurus Complex under construction in Islamabad, Pakistan and a complex planned for Metro Manila in the Philippines.

Island Construction

The hotel rests on an artificial island constructed 280 metres offthe Dubai shore and 450m to its furthest point.

To make the foundation secure, its builders drove 230 40 metre long concrete piles into the sand. The foundation is held in place by the friction of the sand and the silt along the length of the piles. The surface of the island was created using large rocks which were circled with a concrete ‘honey-comb′ pattern armour which serves to protect the foundations from erosion.

Of the hotel’s total five year construction period, it took 3 years to complete the island.

The following stages were involved in the island construction process:

  • Temporary tube piles driven into sea bed
  • Temporary sheet piles and tie rods driven into sea bed to support boundary rocks (see figure 1)
  • Permanent boundary rock bunds deposited either side of sheet piles
  • Hydraulic fill layers deposited between bunds to displace sea water and form island (see figure 2 with fill layers partially complete)
  • Permanent concrete armour units placed around island to protect it from the waves
  • 2m diameter 43m deep piles driven through island and sea bed below to stabilize structure (see figure 3)
  • Island interior excavated and temporary sheet pile coffer dam inserted
  • 2m thick concrete plug slab laid at base of island
  • Reinforced concrete retaining wall built
  • Basement floors created (see figure 4)

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