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23 April 2024

World's tallest, biggest, widest structures


The world seems to believe in the term, bigger is better more seriously now. With the shrinking economy one would expect a tight grip on the avant-garde architectural exploration.

But even in this economic downturn, buildings are stretching out to new height. Travel+Leisure lists some of the biggest buildings of the world.

The Biggest clock tower: Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower, Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower holds several records; tallest hotel in the world, tallest clock tower in the world, world’s largest clock face, world’s largest building floor area, and the current world second tallest building (just behind Burj Khalifa). The tallest tower of the complex where the spire and the clock tower is 601 metres with 120 floors.

It’s the world’s largest four-faced clock - visible from 16 miles away and topped by a golden crescent minaret.

Biggest Solar Building: Solar City, Dezhou, China

Designed to resemble a sundial, the world’s largest solar building opened in 2009. Its 800,000 square feet of space is festooned with thousands of solar panels and features exhibit halls, scientific research facilities, and the 180-room International Solar Micro-Emission Hotel, which utilizes solar power.

Biggest Tent: Khan Shatyr Tent, Astana, Kazakhstan

The Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center (a.k.a. Royal Marquee), a giant transparent tent with a glass roof, was unveiled in 2006. The 500-foot-tall structure has 10 football stadiums’ worth space for park and shops, replete with squares, cobbled streets, a boating river, mini-golf courses, and a palm-lined beach filled with white sand from the Maldives.

Biggest Inverted Building: Earthscraper, Mexico City

A 65-story subterranean “Earthscraper” is 900 feet under Mexico City’s El Zócalo and is covered in tempered glass.

Biggest Archaeological Museum: The Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza, Egypt

The $550 million museum is slated to open in 2013 despite Egypt’s political turmoil. It’s a 210-acre project just a mile from the Giza Pyramids that will include a main structure made with translucent alabaster and a large atrium for ancient Egyptian artifacts and statues like the 3,200-year-old Ramesses II, relocated from Cairo’s Ramses Square.

Biggest Church: The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast

The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is the world’s largest Christian church. Built between 1985 and 1989 at a cost of $300 million, the nave has enough space to seat 7,000 people.

Tallest Building: Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

The hymenocallis flower may have inspired the design team, but the Burj Khalifa seems to pierce the sky like a crystal weapon. The tower’s flashiest occupants are the 160-room Armani Hotel and an extra 144 Armani Residences (sold for more than $3,500 per square foot). It may not cling to its status as world’s tallest building for long; Mecca’s Kingdom Tower is scheduled to complete construction in 2016. If so, it would continue a recent trend of a skyscraper reaching a new height every six years.

Biggest Indoor Ski Resort: Skipark 360°, Stockholm

C. F. Moller has begun designing a ski resort powered by geothermal, solar, wind, and hydropower, which when it opens in 2015 will make it the world’s biggest indoor ski resort—and the greenest. A 700-meter-long downhill slope and a drop of 525 feet meet the requirements for hosting the World Cup. The resort also includes a downhill run, a 3.5-kilometer cross-country skiing tunnel, a hockey and figure-skating rink, a snow park for snowboarding, and a spa.

Biggest Factory: Boeing Everett Factory, Everett, WA

America’s Boeing Everett Factory, 25 miles north of Seattle, remains the world’s largest building by volume and world’s largest factory. Workers assemble Boeing aircraft—including the new 787 Dreamliner—within this 472,000,000-cubic-foot factory. Ninety-minute public tours depart daily.

Biggest Single-Story Structure: Vehicle Assembly Building, Cape Canaveral, FL

Adorned with a massive American Flag and NASA Logo, the Kennedy Space Center’s behemoth eight-acre main building encompasses 129,428,000 cubic feet indoors. It is the world’s biggest single-story structure and the fourth largest by volume.