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What is the World's Largest Building?

The 747 is assembled at Boeing's Everett Plant, which is near Seattle, Washington.
China, which has several of the world's largest structures.
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The largest building in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is Boeing's Everett Plant, located in Everett, Washington, in the US. The famous passenger aircraft, the 747, 767, and 777 are assembled there. When constructed in 1968, the Everett Plant boasted 5.64 million m³ (200 million cu ft) of usable floor space. Since then, it has been expanded twice, 45 percent in 1980 for the 767 assembly line, and another 50 percent in 1993 for 777 assembly. The site's total footprint is 1,025 acres (415 hectares), with 282 acres (113 hectares) of building area, and 215 acres (86 hectares) for paved yards and parking. This makes the world's largest building's area equivalent to a little over a square kilometer.

Many of the world's largest buildings have to do with the assembly of aircraft or spacecraft. For example, the Aerium, in Brandenburg, Germany, about half the size of the Everett plant, was originally constructed as the assembly area for a giant airship which was never built. The NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, in Florida, is about a third the size of the Everett Plant, as was built to assemble the space shuttles.

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There are several buildings a bit larger than the Everett Plant, but generally are not given credit because not all their floor space is usable. For example, the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, Aalsmeer, the Netherlands, is a bit larger, but not all its floorspace is usable, ranking it lower than the Everett Plant. It is still qualified as the world's largest building for commercial (as opposed to industrial) use, and by a long shot the world's largest building devoted to flower auctions.

The Great Wall of China and China's Three Gorges Dam are two other structures that challenge the Everett Plant for the world's largest building status. The Great Wall of China is over 6,500 km long, but doesn't qualify as a building because it has no interior and little real usable space. Similar, the Three Gorges Dam does not qualify as a building per se because the vast majority of its interior is not usable in the fashion that is usually meant by "building."

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Discuss this Article

anon75256
Post 5

The NASA Vehicle Assembly building, completed in 1965, was built to integrate the Apollo V launch vehicle.

anon44636
Post 4

- anon13305, regarding your question about percentage of used floor space. As someone who works at the Everett plant, trust me- every square inch is used for something.

catapult43
Post 3

Anon9164 & Anon13305 - Maybe I'm misreading or something, but the first paragraph provides the largest building in square units and doesn't restrict itself to usable floor space. I think both your comments are addressed in the last two sentences of the first paragraph.

As for Beijing's claim, it does seem that new airport space was built in February 2008 in anticipation for the 2008 Olympic Games. But, I'm not finding figures on the actual size of that airport building.... I did find an article that says it (Terminal 3) is the largest building in the world, noting that it's twice the size of the Pentagon. And, it seems that the Pentagon is 6,500,000 square feet (or just under 150 acres). So double is just under 300 acres, and the Boeing building is 282 acres. So perhaps it is now the largest building in the world?

anon13305
Post 2

Useable floor space is too restrictive a qualifier to the term 'largest. You have to qualify 'largest' as area or volume of building because and any other qualifier is too restrictive to be practical and usable space would imply the the building could not be modified for use over time which is not the case.

An unused floor should be included as - unused floor space and many big building are not 100% used in many cases. What % of a industrial plant is actually used?

anon9164
Post 1

building area is not measured in cubic dimensions (feet or meters), but square units. Also, what about Beijings claim that their building is the world's biggest?

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