There are many structures that can be considered to be the largest office buildings in the world, and we are going to look at ten of those buildings today. What is the biggest office building in the world? Is the Pentagon the largest office building in the world? Has the largest office building in the world shifted? We will discuss all of these questions over the course of this article. If you’re interested in learning about a large office building or two, then this is the place to be!
Table of Contents
- 1 The Largest Office Buildings in the World
- 1.1 Surat Diamond Bourse (660,000 m²) in Surat
- 1.2 The Pentagon (620,000 m²) in Arlington
- 1.3 Chrysler World Headquarters and Technology Center (490,000 m²) in Auburn Hills
- 1.4 USAA Corporate Headquarters (476,000 m²) in San Antonio
- 1.5 The Exchange 106 (453,835 m²) in Kuala Lumpur
- 1.6 Willis Tower (416,000 m²) in Chicago
- 1.7 Petronas Twin Towers (395,000 m²) in Kuala Lumpur
- 1.8 CCTV Headquarters (389,079 m²) in Beijing
- 1.9 Ping An Finance Centre (385,918 m²) in Shenzhen
- 1.10 Shanghai World Financial Center (381,600 m²) in Shanghai
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
The Largest Office Buildings in the World
Commercial architecture has been around for quite a long time, and office buildings are some of the most common types of commercial architecture. Many instances of office buildings are not all that large, but some are immense in their scale and scope. We are going to be looking at large office buildings, the biggest in the world, the ones with near-unimaginable size. Some of these are large because of their incredible height, as there are many skyscrapers that serve as large office buildings, but some of these structures are not particularly tall, but they are still massive.
Many of the largest office buildings in the world can be found in places like the United States, but many of the structures that we will discuss below can be found throughout the world.
Some of these structures have also served as some of the tallest buildings in the world, but many of them are, surprisingly, quite short in stature. Those that are shorter, are generally incredibly wide. Before we dive in, it should be noted that this list of the largest office buildings in the world is arranged according to the total number of square meters found in each building. We are starting with the biggest office building in the world and ending with the tenth biggest.
However, these are the rankings as they stand at the time of writing, and they will likely change as larger and taller buildings are constructed. So, let’s have a look at some of the largest office buildings in the world to see why they are so large and whether their immense scale matches their functionality.
Surat Diamond Bourse (660,000 m²) in Surat
|Date Constructed||2017 – 2023|
|Floor Area (in meters squared)||660,000|
|Height (in meters)||81.9|
The Surat Diamond Bourse is a relatively new structure that was only completed the same year that this article was written, 2023. This means that, in terms of the time of writing, this is the most up-to-date instance of the biggest office building in the world. One of the major accomplishments that this size managed to achieve was that it replaced the Pentagon as the biggest office building in the world. It had held onto this record since the 1940s, but this diamond trade center is the largest on the planet.
The structure was constructed over the course of several years to be the world’s largest diamond trading hub. It is a truly massive office structure that is relatively high in height, but not enough to be considered a skyscraper. There are many buildings on this list of the largest office buildings in the world that are significantly taller, but none of them have the kind of floor space that the Surat Diamond Bourse possesses.
The Pentagon (620,000 m²) in Arlington
|Architect||George Bergstrom (1876 – 1955) and David J. Witmer (1888 – 1973)|
|Date Constructed||1941 – 1943|
|Floor Area (in meters squared)||620,000|
|Height (in meters)||23.5|
|Location||Arlington, United States|
There is a reason that people like to ask the question: “Is the Pentagon the largest office building in the world?”. And that is because the Pentagon held the record for the biggest office building in the world from its construction during the Second World War until 2023 when it was finally replaced by the Surat Diamond Bourse. However, regardless of having lost its place as the biggest office building in the world, it does still remain the second largest in the world and thanks to the difference in the size of the Pentagon and the next item on this list, it’s unlikely that this famous military structure will be kicked off the list anytime soon.
This building is likely the most famous one on this list because it has been portrayed in so many movies over the years that it has become one of the most famous buildings in the world. It represents the American military and even the term “the Pentagon” has come to be synonymous with the American military in the same way that the term “the White House” has come to be representative of the presidency in the country. It may no longer be the biggest office building in the world, but it is still the most famous example of a large office building on this list.
Chrysler World Headquarters and Technology Center (490,000 m²) in Auburn Hills
|Architect||CRSS Inc. and SmithGroup|
|Date Constructed||1993 – 1996|
|Floor Area (in meters squared)||490,000|
|Height (in meters)||76|
|Location||Auburn Hills, United States|
The Chrysler World Headquarters and Technology Center is the primary headquarters for the Chrysler Corporation. This location both serves as their headquarters. In addition to this, it is the central research and development building used by the company. This necessitates a particularly large office building that is made up of various components. Thanks to this scale, it has remained one of the largest office buildings in the world.
One of the most notable features about this structure is that it makes use of a gigantic window at the top of the central building that is made to look like the company’s logo. In terms of some of the largest office buildings in the world, it is a relatively short structure, but it is still the tallest in the town of Auburn Hills in which it is located.
USAA Corporate Headquarters (476,000 m²) in San Antonio
|Date Constructed||Completed 1976|
|Floor Area (in meters squared)||476,000|
|Height (in meters)||15.25|
|Location||San Antonio, United States|
The USAA Corporate Headquarters is one of the largest office buildings in the world, but also one on which very little information is often discussed and explored. It is the headquarters of the United Services Automobile Association. This is a company that exists to serve military members by providing a number of financial services to members of the organization. While the USAA was first established in 1922, its important mandate eventually required the construction of a far larger building to accommodate it.
The original setup of this organization had been relatively small in size, but it eventually expanded into the massive organization that it is today. The building in which the headquarters is housed is a long and serpentine structure that curves its way through the landscape. It is not tall, but its incredible length has allowed it to accommodate far more offices than its height may otherwise suggest.
The Exchange 106 (453,835 m²) in Kuala Lumpur
|Architect||Mulia Group Architects|
|Date Constructed||2016 – 2019|
|Floor Area (in meters squared)||453,835|
|Height (in meters)||445.5|
|Location||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
The Exchange 106 is a massive skyscraper located in Kuala Lumpur, and it is also the second-tallest building in the country. It used to be known as the Signature Tower and has actually made use of a number of names since it was constructed, but regardless of the name it has at any particular time, it has remained one of the largest office buildings in the world.
This building was also constructed and designed to be the centerpiece of a new financial district that was established in the city known as the Tun Razak Exchange district. The history of the Exchange 106 is still recent, and the district around which it has been constructed is still under development, and so there will likely be more to know about this location as time goes on.
Willis Tower (416,000 m²) in Chicago
|Architect||Skidmore, Owings & Merrill|
|Date Constructed||1970 – 1974|
|Floor Area (in meters squared)||416,000|
|Height (in meters)||442|
|Location||Chicago, United States|
The Willis Tower is one of the oldest buildings on this list. It once used to be the Sears Tower but has since seen a change. When it was constructed, it was also the tallest skyscraper in the world, but it eventually lost that privilege. Regardless of no longer appearing on the list of the top ten tallest buildings in the world, it has remained within the top ten largest office buildings in the world. So, it has still retained some level of prestige thanks to its height.
Willis Tower (416,000 m²) in Chicago; Chris6d, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The structure has always been used as an office building, but when it was first constructed, it was built to house the Sears, Roebuck, and Company corporation. This company would eventually leave this large office building and establish a new headquarters elsewhere. In 2009, the tower was renamed because the Willis Group Holdings company became the primary occupant.
Petronas Twin Towers (395,000 m²) in Kuala Lumpur
|Architect||César Pelli (1926 – 2019)|
|Date Constructed||1993 – 1999|
|Floor Area (in meters squared)||395,000|
|Height (in meters)||451.9|
|Location||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
The Petronas Twin Towers are a pair of skyscrapers that can be found in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur. When they were first constructed, they were considered to be the tallest building in the world, for some time, but they did not retain that rank for all that long. They have still remained some of the tallest that has ever been constructed, and they still hold onto the title of one of the largest office buildings in the world.
The purpose of this particular structure was to serve as the office space for Petronas, hence the name of the tower. This is the company that serves as Malaysia’s national company that oversees petroleum. This means it required a particularly large office building, and the Petronas Twin Towers have served well in this role. In addition, the two towers are actually connected to one another through a skybridge that is one of the tallest in the world.
CCTV Headquarters (389,079 m²) in Beijing
|Architect||Office for Metropolitan Architecture, East China Architectural, and Design & Research Institute|
|Date Constructed||2004 – 2012|
|Floor Area (in meters squared)||389,079|
|Height (in meters)||234|
The CCTV Headquarters is located in Beijing, and while it isn’t one of the tallest buildings in the world, it has remained one of the largest office buildings in the world for over a decade at the time of writing. It is an office building that accommodates a number of different aspects of China Central Television, or CCTV (not to be confused with closed-circuit television, which is commonly found in camera security systems). The office building includes places for television studios, production, broadcast facilities, and many other aspects of this major Chinese state media entity.
One of the things that makes this structure such an interesting one in terms of the largest office buildings in the world is that, unlike many skyscrapers, it does not attempt to be immensely tall. Instead, it makes use of two towers that are across from one another and connected via a large, cantilevered section. It leads to a strange overall image that distinguishes it from many other instances of large office architecture.
Ping An Finance Centre (385,918 m²) in Shenzhen
|Architect||Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates|
|Date Constructed||2010 – 2017|
|Floor Area (in meters squared)||385,918|
|Height (in meters)||599.1|
The Ping An Finance Centre is both one of the largest office buildings in the world as well as being one of the tallest skyscrapers that has ever been constructed. This massive structure is the second tallest in the country, and it was designed by one of the best-known architectural firms in designs of this kind, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. The massive office building has managed to retain its place as one of the largest in the world for a number of years.
The structure is also noted for being a popular destination for its observation deck. It has been shown that up to 9,000 daily visitors, who do not work in the skyscraper, visit the observation deck to have some of the most stunning views of the surrounding area. The building has also become a notable part of the skyline and it accommodates over 15,000 workers every single day within its walls.
Shanghai World Financial Center (381,600 m²) in Shanghai
|Architect||Kohn Pedersen Fox|
|Date Constructed||1997 – 2008|
|Floor Area (in meters squared)||381,600|
|Height (in meters)||492|
The Shanghai World Financial Center is the last item on this list of the largest office buildings in the world. However, that only means that it is tenth on the planet, and this still makes it a staggeringly large structure that overshadows practically everything else that has been built in this world. In the case of this particular building, it is the last of the large office buildings on this list and also the last that is a skyscraper.
Shanghai World Financial Center (381,600 m²) in Shanghai; GG001213, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
As is the case with a number of these kinds of massive skyscrapers, the building is actually mixed-use, as it does also include a number of other elements, such as hotel space and an observation deck. However, this does not stop it from being one of the largest office buildings in the world, and it has managed to remain one of the largest since it finished construction in 2008.
With this final entry in this list of the largest office buildings in the world, we have reached the end of our article. We have looked at the biggest office building in the world and the nine structures that follow on from it. Each of the buildings that were discussed today can be termed a large office building, but few buildings are as massive as the ones that have been discussed above.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is an Office Building?
An office building is any building that is used for administration and management. These buildings are, generally, not physically attached to more industrial structures, but the workers in office buildings are often commercially attached to industrial sectors of the economy. Office buildings are generally noted for being designed as simple, accessible, and sustainable structures.
What Is Commercial Architecture?
This term is one that is used to define the design of structures for commercial purposes. Office buildings are one component of commercial architecture. Other than office buildings, commercial architecture is also used for the design of structures such as retail spaces and restaurants. These kinds of spaces usually need to be designed with sturdy materials, in an accessible manner, and with open-plan designs.
Is the Pentagon the Largest Office Building in the World?
The Pentagon used to be the biggest office building in the world. It held this title ever since it was constructed in the mid-1940s, during the Second World War, and it managed to retain that for many decades. However, it finally lost that title the same year that this very article was published: 2023. It has since been replaced by the Surat Diamond Bourse, which is located in Surat, India.
What Is the Most Famous Office Building in the World?
Despite no longer being the biggest office building in the world, the Pentagon is likely still the most famous. Fame is a subjective thing, and many may not even see the Pentagon as an office building as it is a military structure, but it is the administrative core of the United States military. For that reason, it is essentially an office building even if many tend to see it as a military structure. The reason this particular building has become so famous is likely because it has been featured in a great many movies over the years.
What Is the Oldest Office Building in the World?
The oldest instance of an office building was constructed in London in 1726. This particular structure, which became known as the Old Admiralty Building, would not be considered a large office building by today’s standards, but it was built to aid in the management of trade as the British Empire continued its expansion throughout the world.
Justin van Huyssteen is a freelance writer, novelist, and academic originally from Cape Town, South Africa. At present, he has a bachelor’s degree in English and literary theory and an honor’s degree in literary theory. He is currently working towards his master’s degree in literary theory with a focus on animal studies, critical theory, and semiotics within literature. As a novelist and freelancer, he often writes under the pen name L.C. Lupus.
Justin’s preferred literary movements include modern and postmodern literature with literary fiction and genre fiction like sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, and horror being of particular interest. His academia extends to his interest in prose and narratology. He enjoys analyzing a variety of mediums through a literary lens, such as graphic novels, film, and video games.
Justin is working for artincontext.org as an author and content writer since 2022. He is responsible for all blog posts about architecture, literature and poetry.
Cite this Article
Justin, van Huyssteen, “Largest Office Buildings in the World – Super-Sized Workspaces.” Art in Context. October 31, 2023. URL: https://artincontext.org/largest-office-buildings-in-the-world/
van Huyssteen, J. (2023, 31 October). Largest Office Buildings in the World – Super-Sized Workspaces. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/largest-office-buildings-in-the-world/