“We weren’t sure how high we could go,’’ said Bill Baker, the building’s structural engineer. “It was kind of an exploration. . . . A learning experience.’’ Baker, of the Chicago architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, said early designs had the Burj edging out the previous record-holder, the Taipei 101, by about 10.0584 meters (33 feet). The Taiwan tower rises 508.1016 meters (1,667 feet) above the sea. The Burj’s developer, Emaar Properties, kept pushing the design higher even after construction began, eventually putting it about 299.9232 meters (984 feet) taller than its nearest competitor, Baker said. The truth is that the secret was kept around the exact height. Finally, today is the D-Day Burj Dubai will officially meet the sky as the tallest human made structure in the world.

Dubai’s ruler will open the tapering metal-and-glass spire with a fireworks display this evening. Newspapers quoted Major General Mohammed Eid al-Mansouri, head of the protective security and emergency unit for Dubai Police, as saying more than 1,000 security personnel will be deployed.

The tower has more than 160 floors. At a reported height of 818.0832 meters (2,684 feet), the building boasts the most stories and highest occupied floor of any building and ranks as the world’s tallest structure ever built.

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