Dubai, Monday has opened the world's tallest tower -- a 160-plus story structure hailed as a monumental architectural achievement but seen by some as a symbol of the city's unbridled excess. The city-state's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, is due to lead celebrations to unveil the majestic silvery construction that houses a luxury hotel, apartments and offices. Six years in the making, the Burj Dubai reaches 818 meters, or half a mile, into the sky above Dubai, with dizzying views of the ambitious building program that has transformed the emirate and left it swamped by debt. The structure's architects, Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, have called the Burj "a bold global icon that will serve as a model for future urban centers." Declaring that "tall buildings are back," the company predicts that the groundbreaking techniques it used to push the Burj to new heights should enable the construction of even taller towers in the future. iReport: Share your photos of the world's tallest buildings "As with any project, SOM's architects and engineers learned a great deal and are ready to apply this to the next world's tallest building as it is certainly possible to go taller," it said. Video: World's tallest buildings Video: How Burj Dubai measures up Despite such lofty claims, the Burj -- and other construction projects including the Palm Jumeirah and World archipelagos of man-made islands built for the super-rich -- have cast a financial shadow over Dubai.