Monday, January 03, 2011

2010: The Year of Contentious Architecture

December 28, 2010 | Maryam Eskandari

Featured in New York's Elan Magazine

In 2010, this year’s headlines showcased architectural projects pushing the envelope. Plagued with debate, below are the top five most controversial buildings this year.

On top of the list was none other than the Burj Dubai, renamed Burj Khalifa honoring the ruler of Abu Dhabi who spared $11 billion dollars to rescue Dubai from its financial crises. The 2,717 feet tower designed by the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) LLP, were determined to build the world’s tallest, sustainable, mixed use, and free standing structure that ever existed. On the 158th level is the world’s highest mosque, while the world’s highest swimming pool resides on the 76th floor. With barely 900 apartments now owned and only three-quarters of the 37 floors of commercial and office spaces occupied, Dubai still struggles with the rest of the $29 billion tab for the Burj. Nevertheless, what is unfortunate to see was the one-week opening of the observation deck that was forced closed because of liability and safety issues. The Burj Khalifa is still struggling to make a name for itself, while the main architects: Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill who where the designers of the Burj, upon completion, where immediately hired by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to design a tower, taller than the Burj Khalifa.

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