The Burj Dubai is hardly a new phenomenon (the world has known it would be the tallest man-made structure ever back in 2004 when construction first began), but today marks its official opening. The skyscraper — located in downtown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates — stands at an astounding 2,684 feet. To put that in perspective, New York's Empire State Building is only 1,454 feet, the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago — the tallest building in the United States — is 1,450 feet and the Taipei 101 — the previous record holder — is roughly 2,650 feet. The project is simultaneously awe-inspiring, ridiculous, thrilling, dangerous and ostentatious, but that's the beauty of engineering.
The Burj Dubai has been described by developers as a "vertical city." It contains 160 floors, with an observation deck on the 124th floor (also the highest observation deck on Earth). The building will house residences, high-end office space and the world's first Armani Hotel. It came with a hefty price tag, as it is estimated that the total cost was over $1.5 billion (though comparatively speaking, that isn't very much when you consider a billion was spent on the new Yankee Stadium). The building represents the staggering rise of the city, which was little more than a fishing village until wealthy Middle Eastern businessmen began using it as their hub (tax-friendliness will do that for you). It has blossomed into an international playground for the rich (even though it's in the middle of the desert, you can still ski indoors at Ski Dubai, an astoundingly unnecessary resort).
If Burj Dubai accomplishes nothing else, it will have answered Creed's age-old question: "Can you take me higher?" If you're standing on top of Burj Dubai, then the answer is no.