The Burj Khalifa Ceiling | Featured on Walls & Ceilings

Working on an elaborate ceiling structure of the world’s tallest building in Dubai was no easy task.

Passing through the entry of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, U.A.E.—currently the world’s tallest building—one encounters a complex, double-curved wood ceiling floating overhead that approaches the complexity of the tower that hosts it. The ceiling was detailed, built and shipped to the Middle East, and installed in an aggressive 11-month timeframe by an integrated project team comprised of Imperial Woodworking, the design team at Skidmore Owings & Merril, Rick Herskovitz at ICON Integrated Construction, and the New York office of Gehry Technologies.

Early on in the process, the team took a unitized panel approach to the ceiling. Panels were fabricated in Imperial’s shop in Chicago and then transported in groups, sequencing the fabrication and the installation to meet the schedule. While constructing and finishing the panels in the shop helped out with control and quality, the design needed to be pre-coordinated and fully detailed before arriving at the building site.

This led to the adoption of a fully-detailed parametric fabrication model for use by everyone on the team, from the designers, to the fabricators, to the installers working in the field. Built on GT’s Digital Project platform and hosted in a datacenter with a file versioning database for project collaboration, multiple parties in different geographic locations were able to access and work on the same model data concurrently. Likewise, the complete design history of the project was accessible through the versioning system.

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