Monday, July 28, 2008

Great Architectures - Burj Al Arab ( Jumeirah - Dubai)

One of my most favourite Architecture in the world:)

The Burj Al Arab (Arabic: برج العرب, literally, Tower of the Arabs) is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At 321 metres (1,053 ft), it is the tallest building used exclusively as a hotel. However, the Rose Tower also in Dubai, which has already topped Burj Al Arab's height at 333 m (1,090 ft), will take away this title upon its opening. The Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island280 metres (919 ft) out from Jumeirah beach, and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. It is an iconic structure, designed to symbolize Dubai's urban transformation and to mimic the sail of a boat.

Construction of Burj Al Arab began in 1994. It was built to resemble the sail of a dhow, a type of Arabian vessel. Two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast", while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium. The architect Tom Wright said "The client wanted a building that would become an iconic or symbolic statement for Dubai; this is very similar to Sydney with its Opera House or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the country."

The architect and engineering consultant for the project was Atkins, the UK's largest multidisciplinary consultancy. The hotel was built by South African construction contractor Murray & Roberts. The hotel cost $650 million to build.

Several features of the hotel required complex engineering feats to achieve. The hotel rests on an artificial island constructed 280 meters offshore. To secure a foundation, the builders drove 230 40-meter long concrete piles into the sand.

Engineers created a surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honey-comb pattern, which serves to protect the foundation from erosion. It took three years to reclaim the land from the sea, but less than three years to construct the building itself. The building contains over 70,000 cubic meters of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel.

Inside the building, the atrium is 180 meters (590 ft) tall. During the construction phase, to lower the interior temperature, the building was cooled by one degree per day over 6 months. This was to prevent large amounts of "condensation or in fact even a rain cloud from forming in the hotel during the period of construction." This task was accomplished by several cold air nozzles, which point down from the top of the ceiling, and blast a 1 meter cold air pocket down the inside of the sail. This creates a buffer zone, which controls the interior temperature without massive energy costs.

Burj Al Arab characterizes itself as the world's only "7-star" property, a designation considered by travel professionals to be hyperbole. All major travel guides and hotel rating systems have a 5-star maximum, which some hotels attempt to out-do by ascribing themselves "6-star" status. Yet according to the Burj Al Arab's official site, the hotel is a "5-star deluxe hotel". It is the world's tallest structure with a membrane facade and the world's tallest hotel (not including buildings with mixed use) and was the first 5-star hotel to surpass 1,000 ft (305 m) in height.

The building design features a steel exoskeleton wrapped around a reinforced concrete tower. Notably the building is shaped like the sail of a dhow, with two "wings" spread in a V to form a vast "mast". The space between the wings is enclosed by a Teflon-coated fibreglass sail, curving across the front of the building and creating an atrium inside. The sail is made of a material called Dyneon spanning over 161,000 square feet (15,000 m²), consists of two layers, and is divided into twelve panels and installed vertically. The fabric is coated with DuPont Teflon to protect it from harsh desert heat, wind, and dirt; as a result, "the fabricators estimate that it will hold up for up to 50 years. The whole design in itself was originally put forward to the design committee by Edah Yllib, a Scandinavian designer. It took great mathematical thinking by this designer, but in the end proved very successful."

During the day, the white fabric allows a soft, milky light inside the hotel, whereas a clear glass front would produce blinding amounts of glare and a constantly increasing temperature. At night, both inside and outside, the fabric is lit by color-changing lights. During the period of mourning following the death of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum in January 2006, the light show and some water features were turned off.

Near the top of the building is a suspended helipad supported by a cantilever. The helipad has featured some of the hotel's notable publicity events. Irish singer Ronan Keating shot his music video Iris on the helipad. In March 2004, professional golfer Tiger Woods hit several golf balls from the helipad into the Persian Gulf, while in February 2005, professional tennis players Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played an unranked game on the helipad, which was temporarily converted into a grass tennis court, at a height of 211 meters. The helipad has no borders or fences on the edges and if a player hit a winner the tennis balls would plunge down to the ground.

The interior was designed by Khuan Chew, Design Principal of KCA International. Other projects by Khuan Chew include the Sultan of Bruneis palace, Dubai International Airport, Jumeirah Beach Resort Development, Madinat Resort and much more.

The Burj Al Arab features the tallest atrium lobby in the world, at 180 meters (590 ft). The [atrium] is formed between the building's V-shaped span. The atrium dominates the interior of the hotel, and takes up over one-third of interior space. It can accommodate the Dubai World Trade Center building, which, at 38 stories, was the tallest building in Dubai from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s.

While the exterior of the Burj Al Arab is expressed in terms of ultra-modern sculptural design, the interior guest space is a compilation of lavish and luxurious architectural styles from both the east and the west. The hotel boasts 8,000 square meters of 22-carat gold leaf and 24,000 square meters of 30 different types of marble.In the mezzanine lobby, a fountain creates a "three-dimensional Islamic star pattern." Pointed arches throughout, found in one of the hotel’s three restaurants, corridors between guest rooms, and at the top of the atrium recall a classic Arabian architectural design form.

One of its restaurants, Al Muntaha (Arabic meaning "Highest" or "Ultimate"), is located 200 metres (660 ft) above the Persian Gulf offering a view of Dubai. It is supported by a full cantilever that extends 27 metres (89 ft) from either side of the mast, and is accessed by a panoramic elevator. The main chef there- Edah Semaj Leachim, was awarded Chef of the Year 2006 and also owns the restaurant, in accordance with the Burj Al Arab hotel.

Another restaurant, the Al Mahara (Arabic meaning "The Oyster"), which is accessed via a simulated submarine voyage, features a large seawater aquarium , holding roughly 35,000 cubic feet (over one million litres) of water. The tank, made of acrylic glass in order to withstand the water pressure, is about 18 centimetres (7.1 in) thick. The restaurant was also voted among the top ten best restaurants of the world by Condé Nast Traveler. They have recently hired acclaimed chef Kevin McLaughlin.

(info taken from

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kung Fu Panda :)

Last weekend took my kids for this movie 'Kung Fu Panda', though I was not quite sure how interesting it would be, but just for the sake of kids I went. To my surprise the movie was so interesting and funny and the kids enjoyed sooooooooo much. The story is about a panda , who is extremely lazy and only loves to eat and is chosen to fulfill the ancient prophecy and for that he has to learn Kung Fu, the story then proceeds as to how he learns kung fu and saves the Valley of Peace from the villanious snow leopard :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bomb Blasts shock the city of Bangalore.

Well yesterday was a horrifying day for the citizens of Bangalore, as the news of bomb blasts started to come in by 2.00pm in the afternoon, it started with one , then two, then three, four, five to seven and then eight bomb blasts of low density at various parts of the city. Sadly two persons were killed and 15 or 18 injured. paranoid as I am , the first thing that came in my mind were my kids, who were in school, so rushed immediately to their schools and picked them up, there was a lil' bit of panic amongst the people , and the roads were blocked , as all were trying to rush back home, the phone lines were jammed.
Hope and pray that this was the first and the last time that this kind of act happened here. Hope and pray that there is peace always not only here , but in each and every city and country and the whole World.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Golden Age - Tahmima Imam

A stunning novel by the author. give a lil bit of intro about the author is that she was born in Bangladesh and attended Harvard University where she earned a Phd. in Social Anthropology. This is her first Novel.
The story revolves around this lady Rehana , whos throwing a party for her two kids, what she doesnot know is that , after today their lives will change forever. As this country East Pakistan is erupting into war.
As she struggles to keep her children safe, Rehana will find herself faced with heart breaking dilemma.
This is an unforgetable story of revolution and hope and unexpected heroism.
{Its a good read for Pakistanis' for whom the story carries painful relevance...... it can bring tears to your eyes and make you smile at the same time.Dawn}

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Citizenship denied to veiled muslim woman.

The case started quietly, when a Muslim woman who sheaths herself in a head-to-toe veil was denied French citizenship because she had not assimilated enough into this society. France's highest body upheld the decision, and politicians across the spectrum agreed it was the right move.
A few dissenting voices, though, are now questioning whether the decision pushed France's secularist values too far.
"Where does it begin or end? What we are calling radical behavior?" asked Mohammed Bechari, president of the National Federation of French Muslims. "Will we see a man refused citizenship because of the length of his beard ... or a man who is dressed as a rabbi, or a priest?"
On June 27, France's highest administrative body, the Council of State, ruled that the woman, identified only as Faiza X, had "adopted a radical practice of her religion incompatible with the essential values of the French community, notably with the principle of equality of the sexes, and therefore she does not fulfill the conditions of assimilation" listed in the country's Civil Code as a requirement for gaining French citizenship.
But critics accuse the French justice system of breeding fear and intolerance of Islam under the guise of upholding secularism. The country is home to western Europe's largest Muslim population, estimated to be at least 5 million of the nation's 63 million people — and growing.
I wonder why the world has such negative outlook towards the muslim community , just coz of the few groups that have now brought bad name for the whole of community , as for the women - the western world think if a woman does hijab or is veiled , its forcefully imposed on her , which on the contrary is done by themselves willingly with their own choice as per the religion's requirements.