My own rendition of the Burj Khalifa (Burj Dubai), the tallest building in the world, located in the UAE. This version is done in green for cost reasons. It is not complete, as the tower is almost done being designed, and many of the pieces are ordered. For now it stands at just under 4 feet tall. When complete, it might break 5 feet tall. It's already just shy of 16,000 pieces, over 10,000 of which are window pieces.
About this creation
I began designing this model in LDD in May of 2011. I began ordering pieces from BrickLink and Pick-A-Brick late August. Construction finally began late September, and what you see here was completed on October 2nd, 2011. Construction took 7 days. The first 3 were spent building sections of the actual building, and the following 4 days were spent just putting on the almost 10,000 window pieces. An incredibly tedious process, made even more tedious by my compulsive and time-taking efforts to keep the many rows of window pieces aligned.
Many of the early versions were simple, symmetrical, but not to scale. I may eventually share some photos of the original designs and the transformations that they went through, as well as the dozens of pictures taken during construction. But for now, I just want to share the model itself.
The Lego Architecture series is one of the main reasons I went from AFOL to MOC'er. It was also the original inspiration for building this model. Adam Reed Tucker, himself, has a great big version of the Burj Khalifa that just made me drool. And then it was announced that he would be doing a version for mass production and distribution through Lego Group. I was really, really excited and hoped that the tallest building in the world would have a comparably impressive Lego set made for it. I wasn't that impressed with the scale of lego set 21008. I did believe it was a beautiful set and was fun to build... but I just wished it was bigger.
There have been other MOC's of the Burj released, most notably Spencer Rezkalla's rendition, later redone by Rocco Buttliere's. These were amazing models, but I wanted to do a window clad version, much like some of the other models Spencer does. And I wasn't the only one. Shortly after I began designing this model, I did some searching and found some chatter around Lego forums asking for the same. I hope I did it justice.
The first thing you'll notice is that it's Green. Very green. It's more like an Emerald Burj... not exactly a testament to the actual building. In the original design, the windows are transparent Blue. The actual building appears blue in most photography because of the reflections against clear blue desert sky. The decision to go green for this first build was a matter of money. Presently, there are just shy of 10,000 windows: approximately 7,000 1x1x2/3's slope, and 3,000 1x1 flat tiles. Blue would have cost about 6 times what it took to just go Green. I'm not a very wealthy person, and I just wanted to be able to build this thing at all. Eventually I will purchase blue windows and I'll redo the whole thing. For now? Green it is.
The main goals of this model were to be proportionate and have smooth edges. I wanted the windows to flow into one another, row by row. To do this, the 2nd and 3rd rows of windows from the outside of each wall are attached using 1x1 Headlight bricks, over 1,400 in all, the best piece for clearing that pesky 1/16th of an inch.
To achieve a proportionate model, I had to come up with the right width, height and distribution of levels. The internal structures went through a couple different design phases until I got a nice, husky, wide look. By overlapping layers of plates and bricks to get that width, the individual walls are actually incredibly sturdy.
To get the right height, I studied many different pictures of the original building and just counted the stories by the windows. There's almost a 1:1 ratio of Lego Stories to Real Life Stories as you go up each the 3 main walls. This applies to the way tiers recede, where the Dark Grey bars are represented, etc. The Podium and Entrances are the exceptions to this ratio. For those I just went with what looked closest.
This model is 95% SNOT by design. The only non-SNOT parts are in the center core, which provide the triangular separation of the main walls. This was actually my first big SNOT project, and I gotta admit, it's a very liberating feeling.
This was also my first triangular design. The center pillar is held together by over 100 hinge plates, and the walls are held to the pillar by over another 400 1x1 Headlight bricks. I spent a lot of time looking for alternative ways to achieve the dimensions I needed in the core, but in the end, those Headlight bricks would once again be the best option for the job.
The podium and entrances took the most time to settle on. They don't conform to the flushed edges that I fell in love with on the actual walls. But since they make up way less than 10% of the height, I compromised and let them be a tiny bit messy. Still, they were a lot of fun to design. But they were also the biggest cause for headaches. The entrances saw many different design changes and spacing issues. Also, in real life, the 3 entrances are not the exact same height. For ease of design, however, I compromised once again and just made them uniform.
This project is still "Under Construction" These pictures are from the first time I built this "Emerald" Burj Khalifa. I have since disassembled it while I design the top tower. I'm sort of hoping I can afford blue windows by the time it's done and I can have a whole finished product. At that time I will take more and better pictures.
My personal feelings? I achieved all my goals of scale, proportion and smoothness. The entrances were not present on Spencer's Burj, so I was very happy to be able to fit them into mine. Spencer took the time to design the smaller buildings that are attached to the main structure, but I don't currently have plans to include those.
I just don't like the green. I'm happy I was able to build it at all, but I can't help but think that it would look a million times better in Blue. I'll be ecstatic when I can finally make that happen.
I hope you like my design! Please leave me comments and suggestions. And if you happen to have 8,000 Transparent Blue 1x1x2/3 slopes or 4,000 Transparent Blue 1x1 Tiles that you're willing to sell at a decent price, please let me know! :)
Awesome job! It does look okay in green, but blue would indeed look more realistic. BTW you do realize you'll have to pull off all those green cheez slopes to switch colors right? You must be immensly patient.
Weird with the cost of bricks. When I initally saw the pics I thought "hey this looks like a building made of money". However there is a lot of clear, to the point and nifty shaping going on here. BTW I understand why you wanted to make this, its a very iconic building.