Our Planet from the Air: Home Featuring stunning aerial footage from 54 countries, this film from acclaimed aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and ecology-minded French director Luc Besson reveals the beauty and fragility of our planet as never before. Former actor Yann Arthus-Bertrand directed this visually astonishing portrait of the Earth as seen from mesmerizing aerial views. Home is not the first documentary to survey our planet from the air, but Arthus-Bertrand brilliantly and dreamily captures the miraculous linkage within delicate eco-systems. For viewers whose eyes glaze over at descriptions of the way Earth recycles energy and matter, Home underscores the beautiful and awesome reality of that complex process. Narrated by actress Glenn Close (in this English-language version), Home begins by exploring and clarifying the natural history of water, sunlight, and the role simple life-forms such as algae played (and still play) in making the planet hospitable to more evolved, living things. As the film moves along, it also has a way of rebooting one's lazy assumptions about familiar phenomena. The Grand Canyon, for example, might be a fantastic sight to behold, but it's also a collection of billions and billions of shells compressed under Earth's oceans long ago. The carbon trapped in the Grand Canyon was drained from the atmosphere, helping--once again--oxygen-dependent life to develop. Similarly, plant life, Home tells us, broke up the water molecule and released oxygen into the atmosphere. Everything is linked, everything is part of a grand machine--the film makes this clear in scores of ways, and not just by telling us. Arthus-Bertrand reveals the intricate, breathtaking designs and patterns of glaciers feeding rivers, of animals feeding on plant life so more plant life can grow, of Australia's great Coral Reef's role in keeping the ocean in eco-balance. Of course, a big part of the story is the impact short-sighted humans have on these systems: the way we overfish, or drain deserts of scarce fossil water, or turn non-farming lands into perverse engines for agriculture. There is much to be alarmed at watching Home, but there is much to move one as well.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
The Burj Khalifa (Arabic: برج خليفة, Arabic for "Khalifa Tower"), known as the Burj Dubai before its inauguration, is a megatall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the tallest structure in the world, standing at 829.8 m (2,722 ft).
Construction of the Burj Khalifa began in 2004, with the exterior completed 5 years later in 2009. The primary structure is reinforced concrete. The building was opened in 2010 as part of a new development called Downtown Dubai. It is designed to be the centrepiece of large-scale, mixed-use development. The decision to build the building is reportedly based on the government's decision to diversify from an oil-based economy, and for Dubai to gain international recognition. The building was named in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Abu Dhabi and the UAE government lent Dubai money to pay its debts. The building broke numerous height records, including its designation as the tallest tower in the world.
Burj Khalifa was designed by Adrian Smith, then of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), whose firm designed the Willis Tower and One World Trade Center. Hyder Consulting was chosen to be the supervising engineer with NORR Group Consultants International Limited chosen to supervise the architecture of the project. The design of Burj Khalifa is derived from patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture, incorporating cultural and historical elements particular to the region, such as in the Great Mosque of Samarra. The Y-shaped plan is designed for residential and hotel usage. A buttressed core structural system is used to support the height of the building, and the cladding system is designed to withstand Dubai's summer temperatures. It contains a total of 57 elevators and 8 escalators.
Critical reception to Burj Khalifa has been generally positive, and the building has received many awards. However, the labour issues during construction were controversial, since the building was built primarily by workers from South Asia, with allegations of mistreatment.