World’s largest buildings in terms of floor area

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In a previous article, we discussed the world’s largest buildings by volume or rather the space enclosed between the building’s walls and roof. In this article, we bring you the world’s top 5 largest buildings in terms of floor area.

  1. New Century Global Center in China | 1.76 million m2

The world’s largest building in terms of floor area currently is the New Century Global Center, a multipurpose building in the Tianfu New Area of Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

The 100 metres tall or else the 18-storey glass and steel superstructure was developed by billionaire Deng Hong’s Entertainment and Travel Group (ETG). Its construction began back in 2010 and it took 3 years to be completed in 2013. Measuring 500 by 400 meters at the base and with a 1,700,000 m2 floor space, New Century Global Center opened its doors to the public by the start of July of that same year.

Upon entering the building, visitors are welcomed by a 65-metre-high lobby covering 10,000 square metres and a water park dubbed Paradise Island Water Park. The park has a 400-metre sandy beach and the world’s largest indoor LED screen that projects images of seascapes and horizons.

New Century Global Center also features one of China’s largest shopping malls, a 14-screen Imax cinema, an Olympic-sized ice rink, two five-star hotels and a central business tower with 720,000 square metres of office space. It is served by Line 1 of the Chengdu Metro.

2. Dubai International Terminal 3 in Dubai, UAE | 1.73 million m2

Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, an airport terminal at Dubai International Airport serving Dubai, UAE, is the second largest building in the world with a floor space of 1,713,000 m2. Additionally, the terminal is currently the world’s largest airport terminal.

Built between 2004 and 2008 at a total cost of US$ 4.5 billion, the Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 includes a multi-level underground structure, first and business-class lounges, restaurants, a total of 72 immigration counters and 1,870 car-parking spaces as well as 168 car rental spaces and 45 Emirates bus spaces.

It also has the largest and deepest baggage handling system in the world with the capacity to handle up to 8,000 bags per hour. The system features a total of 21 screening injection points, 49 make-up carousals, 90 kilometres of conveyor belts capable of handling 15,000 items per hour at a speed of 27kmh, and 4,500 early baggage storage positions.

Departures at the Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 on the other hand include 126 check-in counters for economy class passengers and 36 for first and business class passengers. There are also a total of 18 self-service kiosks, 3 lounges for unaccompanied minors, 38 counters with 12 e-gates for Economy class passengers and 10 counters with 4 e-gates for First & Business class passengers.

3. The Clock Towers in Saudi Arabia | 1.57 million m2

The third world’s largest building in terms of floor area is The Clock Towers Complex, formerly known as the Abraj Al Bait, with a floor area of 1,575,815 m2.

The mixed-use development is made up of a total of seven skyscrapers i.e. Makkah Royal Clock Hotel Tower, Zamzam Tower, Hajar Tower, Maqam Tower, Qibla Tower, Marwah Tower and Safa Tower. Distributed on the seven towers are hotels, a shopping mall, an Islamic Museum, residences and religious spaces like prayer rooms. There is also a parking garage with a capacity of more than 1000 vehicles as well as 2 helipads on the roofs of the Maqam and Qibla towers.

The Clock Towers Complex was designed by Dar Al-Handasah, an architecture firm from Lebanon, in a typical Islamic style. Its construction began in 2002 following the demolition of the Ajyad Fortress, the 18th-century Ottoman citadel that sat on top of a hill overlooking the Grand Mosque. Saudi bin Laden Group, the largest construction group in Saudi Arabia, was the Clock Towers Complex project’s main contractor.

Funded by the Saudi Ministry of Religious Endowment, the project implementation was completed in 2012 at a total cost of US$ 15 billion. Other than being the third world’s largest building in terms of floor area The Clock Towers Complex is one of the largest hotel complexes in the world. Its central tower, Makkah Royal Clock Hotel Tower, is one of the tallest buildings in the world while its clocks are some of the tallest and largest in the world.

4. Istanbul Airport Main Terminal in Turkey | 1.44 million m2

Located in the Arnavutköy district, Istanbul, Turkey, Istanbul Airport Main Terminal is the fourth largest building in terms of floor area. It is also the world’s second-largest airport terminal in terms of floor area and arguably the world’s largest airport terminal under one roof. Its floor area is 1,440,000 m2.

The terminal building is divided into three sections i.e. the Domestic, International and Transit Passenger Area. As the names suggest, the Domestic and International areas handle arriving and departing flights within Turkey and across the world, respectively. The Transit Passenger Area, on the other hand, allows for quick connections between flights.

Grimshaw in collaboration with the Nordic Office of Architecture and Haptic Architects was contracted by the Istanbul Airport owner and concessionaire, Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA), to carry out the overall airport masterplan as well as lead the terminal Concept Design and Schematic Design.

The actual construction of the Istanbul Airport Main Terminal took place between 2014 and 2018 with the Turkish joint venture consortium of Cengiz-Kolin-Limak-Mapa-Kalyon as the main contractor.

5. Iran Mall in Iran | 1.40 million m2

Lastly, on our list of the world’s largest buildings in terms of floor area is the 1,400,000 m2 Iran Mall located in northwest Tehran, Iran. In addition to being the fifth largest building in the world in terms of floor area, the mall is the largest of its kind in the world.

Architect firm Norr Group designed the mall which is owned and developed by Iran bank – Ayandeh Bank. The implementation of the US$1.5 Billion project began back in 2008 and 10 years later the first phase was delivered and opened in May 2018.

The mall includes a total of 700 shops, a 20,000 square meter hypermarket, a fashion avenue and a diamond and crystal atrium. There is also a 3,300 square meter book garden with about 67,000 volumes of books, several bookstores and an Iranian Bazaar.

In addition, the Iran Mall has three hotels including a 5-star luxury hotel with 450 rooms, a 3,000-seat conference hall, a convention centre, and banquet facilities. Furthermore, there are three food courts with more than 200 restaurants, 12 IMAX cinemas, a family entertainment centre with a roofed amusement park, a museum, art galleries, and a permanent car showroom.

The roof of the mall has a sports complex for hiking, cycling, and public activities as well as 15 sports fields, tennis courts, a 12,000 square-meter ice rink, and swimming pools.

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