The Burj Al Arab is one of the most striking buildings in the world. At 320 metres tall, rising from its own custom built island the Burj Al Arab or Arabian Tower is the world’s tallest hotel and is immediately recognisable throughout the world – its distinctive sail shape making it an icon for the Emirate.
Image credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/jigisha/
In the recent BBC series Engineering Connections the presenter Richard Hammond revealed how behind the grandeur and opulence of the Burj Al Arab hotel, one of the most distinctive architectural achievements in the world, lie some remarkable and astounding feats of engineering.
During the programme Richard uses everyday objects to demonstrate the various principles used in the construction process which, based on the scale and location of the hotel, was truly challenging.
The construction of the island required incredibly strong sea defences to protect it - this was accomplished by a chain of connected tyres to dissipate the formidable power of waves of up to two metres.
The island is over 300 metres offshore and constantly exposed to fierce desert heat. Extreme temperatures presented challenges to the steel construction due to the expansion and contraction of the huge girders required to creat the exoskeleton.
Currently available to view on the BBC iPlayer (sorry no embed available at time of writing – please leave a comment if you find one) this first programme about the building of the Burj Al Arab is a great start to the third series of Engineering Connection.
The next episode in the series will be looking into the wonders of Formula 1 – view all upcoming episodes here