04 January 2010


Before you spend too much time wondering why we're abbracadabbling about architecture,  we'll tell you that it's got nothing to do with today's Grand Opening of the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai-- or the fact that the event probably made Page One across the globe.   

Our rationale does, however, have everything to do with the Tower itself, which at a height of 2,716 feet makes it the tallest free-standing building (read: skyscraper) in the world -- more than twice the height of the Empire State Building.  Point-of-fact, Burj-Khalifa  literally dwarfs every other formidable free-stander on the planet.  Visualize these:
The Tower's height alone stands as an obvious metaphor for Dubai's futuristic leanings and its reputation of 
being both pretentious and ostentatious - boasting everything from the world's largest shopping mall to the largest indoor ski resort.  Media City, Maritime City, and Internet City all lie within Dubai  City itself, and despite its  technology draw, tourism remains Dubai's main source of revenue.  A city known for its nightlife, club scene, and surface prosperity, Dubai has been also been wracked by a debt crisis, and the building - which began construction in September of 2004 stands mostly empty today, unwanted by the international tenants for whom it was supposedly built.

Nevertheless, its science fiction superstructure carries obvious fascination for comic book and fantasy  fans;  the Tower's  super-nature resonates with unknowable potential and lying in its shadow is the mystery of Tomorrow.  It's nickname, "The Vertical City," is extremely Fritz Lang; the tapering metal-and-glass spires would make a perfect Baxter Building for the Fantastic Four.  And despite the Tower's Middle Eastern address (No. 1, Burj Dubai Boulevard, Dubai, United Arab Emirates if you're Googling), the modern marvel is 100% American by design

Yet while the imaginations of many worldwide far-thinkers have likely been captivated by Burj Khalifa tonight, those with more ancient inclinations must be similarly intrigued.  We'd be surprised if the  Old Testament's Tower of Babel tale hasn't crossed most people's minds -- even the Wall Street Journal's most recent report from Dubai makes this uneasy comparison.

Still, we'd have to send the Book of Genesis home an 'honorable mention'.  For our money, the Uncanny Parallel of The Day award clearly belongs to the prescient Mr. JRR Tolkien,  who along with Peter Jackson and his art department couldn't have been more accurate if they'd tried:

abbracadabbling's own art department pulled that baby together; props to those folks for such an awesome last-minute mock-up. And for helping us get back to our blog's first point, too.  Which is this:

To some, Dubai's megalith is the promise of tomorrow; to Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan - it's the biggest phallic symbol Earth has ever popped. Either way, fantasy's no longer fiction in this modern world. Does Burj Khalifa mean abbracadabbling in Arabic? It might sound fantastic, but we think it's an answer that only time will tell.
Above The Fog - view of Dubai's skyline as seen from Burj Khalifa
Tower of Dubai Linkage

  •  Architectural Designers of Burj Khalifa, SOM [link]
  •  Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Facebook [link]
  • Dubai Wiki [link]
  • Burj Tower Website [link]
  • Above The Fog courtesy of SNAP [link]

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