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World’s Biggest Building Bows in China

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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An artificial beach with fake sunsets, a 14-screen iMAX theater, an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, and a Mediterranean village reconstruction are among the amenities housed in the largest building in the world.

At a staggering 1.7 million square meters (about 18.2 million square feet) the 18-story New Century Global Center in Chengdu, Sichuan, in southwestern China, has just opened its doors for business, according to Chinese officials.

New Century Global Center
Exhibition & Travel Group

The largest freestanding building in the world sits in the city of Chengdu, in southwestern China. The New Century Global Center is large enough to fit 20 Sydney Opeara Houses.

The building’s owners—Exhibition & Travel Group—call the massive glass and steel structure “a landmark which commands the world and is looked upon by the world with respect.”

Dimensions and Perspective

The megabuilding is 328 feet tall, 1,640 feet long and 1,312 feet wide, the owners trumpet.

Its neighbor—architect Zaha Hadid’s 500,000-square-foot art center, which is now under construction—dwarfs in comparison, reports say.

The Global Center is large enough to house 20 Sydney Opera Houses, and its floor space is almost three times the size of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the owners report.

GoChengdoo / YouTube

Developers call the structure "a landmark which commands the world and is looked upon by the world with respect."

Reports say its floor space is almost the size of the entire country of Monaco.

New Century Global Center beat out Dubai’s International Airport Terminal 3 by nearly 500,000 square feet for the title of world’s largest structure.

The United States has nothing to compare. The largest building in the U.S.—the Palazzo in Las Vegas, NV—is No. 11 worldwide, according to Gizmodo UK.

Construction in Emerging Area

The New Century Global Center officially opened July 1, after just three years of planning and construction, reports note. Construction was reportedly to have begun in spring 2012, in the Tainfu New District.

Exhibition & Travel Group hopes the world’s largest building will help transform the city of Chengdu into a world-class international hub. Reports say the city of more than 14 million may be on the cusp already, as it is an emerging area for IT, finance and biochemical industries.

New Century Global Center
Exhibition & Travel Group

The Global Center is home to "Paradise Island," which features an artificial sea breeze and sunset. 

The structure cascades above a new subway station and features a plethora of shops, restaurants, offices and hotels.

‘Ocean City’ Hundreds of Miles from Water

In addition to it being billed as the "world's largest structure," many reports have focused on the indoor beach that apparently offers a sea breeze and sunset via an expansive LED screen on one side of the building. (The city, however, is approximately 620 miles from the coast.)

“This is an ocean city built by man,” Liu Xun, a New Century Global Center guide, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Editor's Note: This article was updated at 2 p.m. ET July 10, 2013, to correct the square footage of the building.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Architects; Architecture; Building design; Color + Design; Construction

Comment from Paul Gladysz, (7/10/2013, 12:02 PM)

Umm... 1.2 million sf is the biggest? The Pentagon is 6.5 million sf. Somebody moved a decimal point.

Comment from Stephen Bolling, (7/10/2013, 12:31 PM)

The developers are clueless. This is not a landmark and the building is no more impressive than the West Edmonton Mall built in Canada in 1981. This slightly larger version is even less impressive when you consider it was built in 2012, not in 1981. And what's with the irrelevant comparisons to United States federal buildings?

Comment from Mary Chollet, (7/10/2013, 2:05 PM)

Paul, good catch. China's new building is actually 1.7 million square meters (more than 18 million square feet)of floor space. The story has been corrected. Thanks.

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