Source:  www.kbtx.com

When the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, officially opened in Dubai amid a flurry of fanfare, former Texas A&M architecture student Adrian Smith was among the honored guests. It was he who designed the shimmering spire that soars more than a half mile above the desert in the United Arab Emirates, rising to an official height of 828 meters, or 2,716.5 feet.

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

When the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, officially opened in Dubai amid a flurry of fanfare, former Texas A&M architecture student Adrian Smith was among the honored guests. It was he who designed the shimmering spire that soars more than a half mile above the desert in the UAE  rising to an official height of 828 meters, or 2,716.5 feet.

“It was the culmination of many years of work and one of the most thrilling moments of my career,” said Smith, 65, who studied architecture at Texas A&M University for four years spanning 1962-66 before being lured by a summer internship to Chicago, where he eventually landed a job, finished his degree and went on to become the world’s most experienced designer of super-tall buildings.

“The Burj Dubai, now Burj Khalifa, was designed not for ego gratification or to fulfill a list of superlatives. It was designed to lift the spirits of a nation and a culture, and to bring joy and inspiration to its citizens,” said Smith, who designed the structure that formally opened last month while working in the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the same firm that offered the aspiring young architect that job back in 1967. It was the job and its promise, he said, that ultimately kept him from returning to Texas A&M to finish his architectural studies.

Smith worked at SOM for almost 40 years, advancing through the ranks and eventually serving as chief executive officer from 1992 – 95, before leaving in 2006 to start his own Chicago-based firm, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

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