The Burj Dubai Raises the Roof

Burj Dubai

The Burj Dubai.
It's already the largest structure in the world, and if all goes according to plan, sometime in 2009 it will officially become the world's tallest building.

How Tall is It?
It's very, very tall. Until it's topped off no one knows for sure but for the sake of reasonable speculation, if you put the Empire State Building on top of the Sears (soon-to-be Willis) Tower, the Burj Dubai might still have you beat. It will be in the range of half a mile high. That's tall.

ABC's Good Morning America recently reviewed progress:

Tall buildings are about posturing as much a architecture. Dubai is announcing their arrival on the world stage by screaming from the highest rooftop possible.

Skyscaper, a reference to the nautical term for tall masts, became the nickname for the tall buildings that changed the Chicago and New York City skylines in the early 20th century. But the US no longer stands head and shoulders above other nations on this score. The center of gravity for skyscrapers has shifted first to Asia and now tilts toward the Middle East.

The Top Ten List
Of the top ten tallest buildings in the world, only two -- the Sears/Willis Tower (owned by a British firm) and the Empire State Building -- are in the US. Six are in China (three of which are in Hong Kong). Of course, the events of 9/11 tragically impacted the world line-up.

In his book, The Post-American World, CNN host Fareed Zakaria talks about culture shock and awe in the US when other nations take the lead in areas where we were once dominant. He sees it not as a cause for alarm but an opportunity to refresh our perspective.

But the Burj Dubai may soon be old news in the looming shadow of the Nakheel Tower (formerly the Al Burj), if and when construction resumes.

How tall might the Nakheel be? No one, including Apocalypzia, knows for sure but some estimates indicate that if you balanced the Sears/Willis Tower on top of the Burj Dubai you might still be 50 stories shy.

That's tall...