The biggest buildings in the world (Top Trumps)

I’ve always been impressed by scale. I like big mountains, big trees and (once I look past their carbon footprint) I like big buildings as well.


La Sagrada Familia, the Taj Mahal and the Petronas Towers are all large constructions, and beautiful, but they are dwarfed by the biggest buildings that man has managed to make.

The largest building in the world (by volume)

I often wonder what makes the machines that make things (like cars, boats, etc). And what makes the machines that make those machines. And so on, until I’m blinded by a philosophical convergence of infinitesimal equations.

Similarly, sort of, where do you find the space to assemble some of the largest passenger vehicles on or above the earth? You do it in a building. A very, very big building.


So how big is that? Well:

  • You could fit about 11 Colosseums in there
  • It would take about three and a half hours for the Victoria Falls to fill it

They assemble 747s, 767s, 777s and 787s at the Boeing Everett factory, easily. Hell, they could almost fly the planes around in there.

The largest building in the world (by footprint)

Being the largest building by footprint means it would take you longer to run around it than any other building. That may not actually be true, but it’s simple and true enough to say that no other building actually covers more ground than this.

So it’s a good and almost ironic thing that this building is used for selling flowers. Good, ironic, and staggering too. Consider this: with all the flowers that pass through Aalsmeer in a year, you could plant over the Mediterranean Sea.*


Still not sure what ‘by footprint’ means? Me neither, but I think it means that the scar it will leave on the earth has never been matched by anything made by man. Yet.

* I didn’t actually do the maths on this, but 20 million flowers are sold at Aalsmeer every day, so I figured it was a believable stat.

The largest building in the world (by floor space)

The New Century Global Centre in Chengdu is enormous. At 500m long, 400m wide and 100m high, it is almost the size of Taiwan.

It’s no surprise to see the Chinese here, given they’ve built 12 of the 24 tallest buildings on earth. And I suppose if they can control the climate in Beijing long enough to host the 2008 Olympics then they can probably ensure beach weather in a building all year round.


I had to look up ‘floor space’ as well, because I couldn’t tell the difference between it and ‘footprint’, but I think ‘floor space’ could refer to space that is available to be used on all floors, not just the ground one.

I think that’s the case, and I therefore assume this building has the skyscrapers of the world beaten. Given that it’s wider than most of then are tall, I’d say it probably does

Obligatory tall building comparison graphic

A post about big buildings wouldn’t be complete without a nice comparison graphic. So, depending on your point of view, here’s either the world’s tallest buildings or man’s obsession with his pen1s. Over to you, Freud.


(click graphic to link to for more)


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