The media and scholarly descriptions and understandings of the tallest building in the world, namely the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, generally, have been simplified. Either celebrating or condemning it, these explanations typically stress the unique technological solutions, the symbolic and political motivations or the financial risk and economic gamble. This manuscript documents the origins–in terms of both its generation as centrepiece of the large-scale development project called Downtown Dubai and the mobilization of antecedents of Dubai’s icon (including the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, the Samsung Tower Palace Three, Seoul). Drawing on secondary data and prior research materials, the paper analyses the mobilities of architectural, engineering and real estate experts and solutions, arguing that this urban spectacle worked at multiple scales, that multiple actors embraced it for different purposes: the government celebrating the nation and the city, the developer gaining a distinct landmark in a massive development to market it internationally, enticing partners and regulators in subsequent transnational operations and the design experts testing unprecedented technological solutions. The conclusions concentrate on the diverse motivations behind this architectural piece and the importance of a place-based yet critical and multiscalar understanding of similar urban transformation processes and their uneven urban effects.

Transnational mobilities of the tallest building: origins, mobilization and urban effects of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa

Ponzini D.;
2022

Abstract

The media and scholarly descriptions and understandings of the tallest building in the world, namely the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, generally, have been simplified. Either celebrating or condemning it, these explanations typically stress the unique technological solutions, the symbolic and political motivations or the financial risk and economic gamble. This manuscript documents the origins–in terms of both its generation as centrepiece of the large-scale development project called Downtown Dubai and the mobilization of antecedents of Dubai’s icon (including the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, the Samsung Tower Palace Three, Seoul). Drawing on secondary data and prior research materials, the paper analyses the mobilities of architectural, engineering and real estate experts and solutions, arguing that this urban spectacle worked at multiple scales, that multiple actors embraced it for different purposes: the government celebrating the nation and the city, the developer gaining a distinct landmark in a massive development to market it internationally, enticing partners and regulators in subsequent transnational operations and the design experts testing unprecedented technological solutions. The conclusions concentrate on the diverse motivations behind this architectural piece and the importance of a place-based yet critical and multiscalar understanding of similar urban transformation processes and their uneven urban effects.
Burj Khalifa
Downtown Dubai
dubai
skyscraper
spectacularization of contemporary architecture
transnational urbanism
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1205775
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