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Living in the Sky

The Burj Chalifa in Dubai (Burj means ‘Tower’ in Arabic) is the tallest building in the world at 828 meters. It’s the first time that the world’s tallest building has been in the Middle East since 1300 when Lincoln Cathedral snatched glory from the great pyramid of Giza.

Discerning people looking down on the Burj from the air will notice that the shape of the tower seems strangely familiar. The geometric shape of the building is taken from the flower of the Hymenocallis, a plant widely cultivated in Dubai and elsewhere in the Middle East. Other subtle details reflect the influence of Islamic culture and architecture.

But that’s only part of the story. It’s not just a super high-rise block of luxury flats; living there will mean a whole new way of life for its residents. There will be exclusive restaurants, luxurious pools, a fitness center, a library and relaxation areas and, of course, the best views on the planet.

Splendor and Luxury in a Building of Superlatives

The Tower was designed by celebrity architect Adrian Smith from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; the company was also responsible for the Olympia Center in Chicago, Rowes Wharf in Boston and the United Gulf Bank Building in Bahrain. One of the many challenges was controlling the building’s interior temperature. A huge air conditioning plant will cool outside air temperatures of up to 45°C and provide an ideal climate for the building’s residents and visitors.

Technology taken to another level

Already in 2007, GEA completed their order with the delivery of twelve cooling towers, each with a ground space of 100 m² for the district cooling plant to cool the vast quantities of water processed by the system. CMDI cooling towers work on the principle of counterflow: the water flows down while the air is pulled upwards by a fan. The cooling towers were chosen for their exceptional efficiency and economical use of water: a precious commodity in Dubai’s arid climate.

The units recycle over 95 per cent of the water passing through them and their modular design means that the installation can be accommodated in a relatively small area. Space is another precious resource in this city of high-rise buildings and even higher land prices.

GEA Heat Exchangers's involvement in the project reflects the high standards of equipment and cutting edge technology being used throughout the building. Example given the design of the fan section and the large fans ensure lower energy consumption and a substantial reduction in noise and additional floating silencers minimize noise caused by falling water. Special high-performance exterior cladding will be used to protect the cooling tower’s environment from noise in addition to the extreme low noise facilities on the cooling towers; while reflective glazing, aluminium and textured stainless steel panels and vertical tubular fins will extenuate its slenderness and height.