Construction begins on world’s tallest building

It’s time for Toronto’s 1,825-foot-tall CN Tower to step aside.

Construction has begun on a skyscraper in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates that will reach an estimated 2,640 feet to become the world’s tallest building.

At least 4,000 workers and 100 cranes have gathered to build the hotel, residential and shopping complex that will include more than 1,000 luxury apartments. It will take an estimated three years to finish the project.

The exact height is secret, partly for fear of rival bids, and because it might be technologically possible to go even higher by 2008.

Dubai-based architect Emaar expects the Burj Dubai (Dubai Tower) to cost at least $1.39 billion to construct, excluding the complex’s malls, lakes and smaller tower blocks.

The tower allows for a worst-case scenario wind-sway factor of 6 feet on its top floors.

Designed by a U.S.-based consultancy, the tower employs the geometric patterns of Islamic architecture around a base in the form of a six-petal desert flower.

The plans show an ambitious single structure comprising conjoined tube-shaped towers with the kind of space-age look seen in New Age album covers of ’70s progressive rock bands.

Construction techniques are also requiring inventive use of equipment, such as concrete pumps. Engineers for the project estimate it could take at least 30 minutes for the specially mixed concrete to reach the top.

Patrick Beeson can be contacted at [email protected].