The world has witnessed modern architecture make many remarkable strides over the past century. Architects have not ceased to beat structural barriers and make history with their groundbreaking, cutting edge designs.
Here is a compilation of the ten biggest buildings in the world, showing how continental powerhouses like Asia and Europe are dominating the list. They are bringing the race to a completely new level where competition goes beyond mere dimensions, and advances in engineering and technology govern.
1. Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower
Also known as the Mecca Hotel Clock Tower, the Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower is the world’s largest building in terms of floor area of any structure with 1.5 million square meters. Dwarfing London’s Big Ben, this lofty clock tower showcases the world’s biggest clock face as well as the world’s tallest hotel. Albraj Al-bait was completed in 2011 at a cost of $15 billion, and is also among the world’s tallest structures, visible from as far as 25 kilometers away.
2. Grand Egyptian Museum
The $550 million Grand Egyptian Museum is set to open in 2015. Hailed as a portal to the past, the museum aims to walk the whole world through the ancient history of Egypt over the past seven millennia. The new museum intends to host over 100,000 artifacts, where approximately 3,500 of them belong to King Tutankhamen.
The museum is situated between the ancient pyramids and the city of Cairo. The entire project is estimated to cover 480,000 square meters. The design, chosen from among several in an international competition in 2003, was conceptualized to maintain an open view to the Giza Pyramids, which are just 2 kilometers away. The preparation of the required area for constructing the main building alone took a massive, non-stop 24/7 excavation work that lasted seven months.
3. Dubai International Airport
Dubbed as the largest building in the world in terms of floor area prior to Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower’s completion, the Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport has a total floor space of 1.456 million square meters. Given this, Terminal 3 alone has a maximum annual capacity of 43 million passengers.
The $4.5 billion airport was completed in 2008. However, the world’s largest single-terminal building will not hold its record for long, for it will soon be replaced by Beijing’s Daxing Airport, which when completed, will be roughly the size of the whole island of Bermuda.
4. Burj Khalifa
Towering at 828 meters, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is, by far, the tallest building in the world. This 160-storey skyscraper designed by Chicago’s Skidmore, Owings & Merill LLP is also the world’s tallest free-standing structure. Apart from that, this edifice is known to have the highest number of storeys, the elevator with the longest travel distance, the highest outdoor observation deck, the highest occupied floor, and the tallest service elevator in the world. The unique design of Burj Khalifa, which is an abstraction of the Hymenocallis flower, has made the building a complete standout.
5. Skipark 360
A gigantic structure solely intended for indoor ski purposes, The Skipark 360 in Stockholm is a $220 million structure that is scheduled to open in 2015 . This would-be greenest ski resort shows off a downhill slope that stretches 700 meters and a drop that is 160 meters high. With that said, it comes as no surprise why it is regarded as one of the biggest buildings in the world.
It is the only indoor ski slope to meet the requirements to host the World Cup. When completed, the complex will also house a 3.5-kilometer skiing tunnel; an arena for biathlon, bandy, figure skating, and ice hockey; and a snow park. The Skipark 360 is powered by wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower.
6. Solar City
Measuring 75,000 square meters, the sundial-inspired Solar City in Dezhou, Shangdong Province in northwest China is justly branded as the biggest solar-powered building in the entire planet. The edifice is the focal point of China’s ambitious “Solar Valley City,” signifying the nation’s effort to seek renewable energy sources. It houses a sustainable hotel and provides space for exhibition centers, scientific research facilities, and training and meeting facilities.
7. Khan Shatyr Tent
With a name that roughly means the “tent of the king,” The Khan Shatyr Tent in Astana, Kazakhstan is the biggest tent-like building in the world. Ten football stadiums can fit under this tensile structure that has a 139,354 square-meter foundation.
In the center of the Khan Shatyr is a tripod that is 149 meters high and weighs 907 kilograms. This unconventional structure has a leaning, needle-like tip. Its construction was manned by 650 professional mountain climbers. The Khan Shatyr houses cafes, shops, rides, movie theatres, and an indoor beach.
8. The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace
The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, located in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, is the world’s largest Christian church. The $300 million project is huge enough to accommodate 18,000 worshippers. The basilica, commissioned by the late President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Ivory Coast, is adorned with French stained glass and Italian marble. Built between 1985 and 1989, it was ordained by Pope John Paul II in 1990.
9. Boeing Everett Factory
Situated in Everett, Washington, the Boeing Everett factory is not only the biggest in the world, but also the largest building in terms of volume. The facility opened for operation in 1967 to produce the 747 jumbo jet.
The factory represents Boeing to the world by its size and magnitude. This 13 million cubic-meter factory is the home of Boeing’s 747, 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliner, the newest twin-aisle airplane. The Everett factory is open for public tours seven days a week.
10. Aalsmeer Flower Auction
With a floor space of 990,000 square meters, Aaalsmeer Flower Auction is rightfully labeled as one of the largest buildings in the world. This gigantic plant and flower auction building has 20 million flowers from around the world being traded inside it each day. Workers busily roam around the facility using 270,000 trolleys. Aside from where the flora gets housed, the building contains 13 auction rooms and 40 auction clocks.
These structures all hold indispensable proof that size does matter. Engineering and architectural adeptness has indeed gained greater sophistication by the day, and the race to creating bigger and bolder structures never ends.