Size isn’t everything, said a liar one time. Point of fact, if you’re going to build something, it’s important make it as much of a monstrosity as possible. Make it tall, make it flat, make it go deep underground, rise into the sun, reach like the Tower of Babel, spread out like cake batter, or lay for miles along the landscape like the old Trans-Siberian Railway. A huge building is not only a towering accomplishment of human endeavor, it’s also much more difficult to construct than something small, making the feat of engineering that much more impressive.
From the tall to the wide, the round to the pyramidal, the long and the bulbous, we looked at all 16 of the biggest buildings in the world, for people who know that size is all that matters.
Boeing Everett Factory
Most Total Volume: It’s impossible to convey the scope of the Everett factory in mere photographs. As it is a place that builds the biggest of Boeing’s immense product line, the warehouses are large enough to allow for fuselages and wings to fit neatly inside, with multiple projects going at any given time, and a mass of hundreds to thousands of employees. If you ever have the chance to take a tour, it will make you feel small in a whole new way.
Abraj Al Bait Towers in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Biggest Clock: These towers have more than merely the tallest clock in the world, as the Al Bait Towers also have an approximate square footage of 16,137,600 sq ft. The issue is that changes in construction in recent months, alteration in plans, and decisions about exact size has caused the Towers to fluctuate on the list of largest structures. The tower group might be the most sprawling structure, it might have the most square feet, or maybe it’s just really easy to tell the time.
Aalsmeer Flower Auction building, Holland
Most Immense Footprint: More than 20 million flowers are bought and sold here on a daily basis. The huge warehouse structure is chopped up into auctions, along with storage space galore for all the floral arrangements that move through this space. Though hard to believe tiny Holland could do it, all for flowers, this whole place is a stroll for your nose.
New Century Global Center in Chengdu, China
Most Total Square Feet: Though it isn’t the largest amount of total area, the Center has multiple floors that give it more total square footage among the many layers of the building. Coming in hot with 18,900,000 sq ft. to its name, what’s even more interesting than the size is the dark past of governmental corruption that surrounds the building of it.
Tallest Building: Though the footprint is fairly small, occupying a scant 3,331,100 sq ft on the ground, the soaring spire of the Khalifa reaches 2,722 ft into the heavens. It’s likely that by 2020, if not long before, Khalifa will need to cede its throne to the Jeddah Tower, which promises to be 3,281 ft. tall. Due to its size, the Khalifa also has broken a few other records, like highest nightclub and restaurant.
Masjid al-Haram, Mecca Mosque
Biggest Mosque: Costing more than $100 billion to build, there’s no religious building that even comes close to the 99 acres – that’s 4,312,440 sq ft. – worth of space that is able to house about 4 million worshipers. Perhaps the 2nd holiest place in all of the Muslim faith, it’s also filled with relics of the religion.
Tallest Tower: Saying that the only thing of note about the Skytree is that it is tall would be a severe disservice to all it does. As a means of telecommunication, it serves a far greater purpose than any other building on this list, as it allows global connection and broadcasting for far greater distances than has been possible with our current tower structure. The design and technological build make this more than a lanky piece of architecture, but a huge forward step in telecommunication integration to structure.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Biggest Cathedral: Since cathedrals inherently go for big, soaring, airy makes that suck up a lot of space, horizontally and vertically, it’s a little tough to determine exactly which one occupies the most space. Even if you cut out the grounds around it, open spaces, walkways, and focus on the cathedral itself, St. Peter’s is still magnificent at 240,000 sq ft.
Largest Planned Structure: Right now, Boeing is still beating out Tesla’s massive manufacturing plant, but that isn’t likely to last. The Gigafactory will build cars, but also likely be the home of making Hyperloop railings, cars, and other materials, to say nothing of Elon Musk’s other projects. Projections now have it standing at 10 million sq ft., but that could merely be an estimate.
Palatul Parlamentului, Bucharest
Largest Governmental Structure: While Americans are now learning that living under a despotic overlord isn’t fun at the time, it can sometimes be interesting later. Nicolae Ceaușescu was an insane dictator in Romania who decided to put the whole government into one building. While he didn’t quite do the job, he did end up making the biggest parliament in the land, and an immense governmental structure onto itself.
Dubai International Airport
Largest Land Consumption: The International Airport used to hold the record for most sheer footage, using up 16,137,600 sq ft, but has been beaten out by the New Century Global Center. The good news is, since it also has tarmacs and runways and all manner of other accessories to go along with the structure, it still holds the record for most land used by a building.
Kinepolis-Madrid Ciudad de la Imagen megaplex
Biggest Movie Theater: 25 screens for films and able to seat 9,200 people, Kinepolis is looking to become the megastar of the cinema industry. In 2001 they opened the 2nd largest theater, Kinepolis-Valencia, which has 24 screens and seats 8,000. While there’s no talk of making a larger theater, bet that Kinepolis will be behind it.
Largest Museum: Some will quibble over the square footage, since the Louvre comes in at 650,000 worth of gallery space. What none can argue about is that undoubtedly no other museum comes close to the collection to be found here. It has 70,000 pieces of art, to say nothing of alternative artifacts, and allures nearly 10 million visitors a year. That’s almost twice the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the second most visited museum ever made.
Largest Place of Worship: This is a dicey guess, as there’s innumerable Mayan ruins, Incan, Druidic, and other various religions coating the globe with massive places of worship. To date, nowhere is quite as sprawling as the Cambodian ruins of Angkor Wat. At 402 acres, which breaks down to more than 17,249,760 sq ft. Wat is a temple structure that is as yet unmatched on the blue ball.
Most Immense Sphere: Yep, it’s a giant ball. In fact, it’s the most giantest ball in all the land. AC/DC has been put to shame.
Largest Real Castle: There’s castles that take up more actual real estate, but those are dainty little princess castles with stables and dance halls. The unpronounceable Mehrangarh Fort is the biggest serious castle left in the world, and still looks like it could hold off a siege.