The world's most luxurious hotel, Burj Al-Arab or the Arabian Tower, is the second modern wonder of the world. Ever since its completion in November 1997, the hotel has become an icon for the technologically expanding city of Dubai.
The jewel of the Middle Eastern oasis, Dubai used to be a small fishing port where trade networks were numerous and profits related to the sea were prosperous. The economic prosperity and population explosion that was brought about by a massive injection of oil revenues had a huge social and cultural impact, not least of which was an immediate and urgent demand for public buildings and private housing. Modern designs, building materials and technology rapidly replaced vernacular architecture, which was soon confined to museums and heritage centers. In a very short space of time, sleek glass-fronted skyscrapers rapidly altered the rural landscape.
Dubai has managed to preserve a little of its traditional core, but it is also home to a unique collection of high-rise buildings. One of the most distinctive architectural features in Dubai is the Burj Al Arab hotel, a huge 60-floor tower-like structure built to resemble a sail. It is the world's tallest hotel at 321 meters and 1053 feet. Standing on its own man made island 280 meters of shore, it has the largest atrium in the world at 60 stories. It consists of 202 luxury double floor suites that range from 6 to 30 rooms. From the rooftop helipad to the 100 feet fire and water displays, to the restaurant with a 3 minute submarine voyage, the Burj Al Arab is an excellent example of a syntagmatic structure as it combines the greatest display of luxury with the latest elements in technology.
When constructing plans for Burj Al Arab, the architectural team strove to follow the structural design tradition of Dubai. The concept is simple: buildings were formatted to signify either the cultural, technological or economic aspect of Dubai.