Home Miscellaneous The biggest office building in the world.

The biggest office building in the world.

El Pentágono

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Previously on miscellaneous category, we have got to know some particularities of the biggest administrative building in the world, the Romanian Parliament.

Actually, there is an office building way bigger, the Pentagon in USA. Though, this is not a civil building, but the Defence Department of USA.

Anyway, both buildings are the biggest in the world, one for civil matters and the other one for military matters.

The biggest office building in the world is not civil nor is for sale.

As already mentioned, the Pentagon is the headquarter of the Defence Department in USA and it is located in the County of Arlington, Virginia.

It was designed by the architect George Bergstrom (1876-1955) and built by John McShain from Philadelphia during the first years of the Second World War.

General Brehon Somervell was the person in charge of the working staff of this building and Coronel Leslie Groves was the person named to supervise the construction in the name of USA Army.

The construction of the biggest office building in the world was finished the 15th of January 1943 after only 16 months from its beginning.

Curiosities on the biggest office building in the world.

  • Its name comes from its pentagon shape.
  • Each side of the building measures 281 m.
  • Its size is approximatively 600.000 m2.
  • It is three times bigger than the Empire State of New York.
  • It is 23 m high.
  • Its initial design was finished in 34 days.
  • The offices occupy a total of 340.000 m2.
  • The building was constructed in approximatively 16 months.
  • Its structure is divided into 5 floors and 2 other floors under the level.
  • There are 23.000 persons working in this building, among which military and civil persons.
  • Its hallways are 28 km long.
  • A person could walk form a side to the other in 7 minutes.
  • The total cost of the construction was 83 million dollars.
  • The main area of the building, known as the “zero zone” has 20.000m2.
  • 150 houses from Hell´s Bottom were evacuated for the construction of the Pentagon.
  • 300 acres were transferred to the National Cemetery of Arlington.
  • 680.000 tons of sand were swept from Potomac River.
  • Pearl Harbor´s attack (7/12/1941) fastened the process of construction.
  • 2 walls were raised in order to avoid the floods of Potomac River.
  • The official employees started to work long before the construction was finished.
  • It counts with its self insurance company, the PFPA (The Pentagon Force Protection Agency).
  • The building´s complex counts with 200 acres of grass.
  • There are 16 parking spaces with places to park around 9.000 vehicles.
  • The building manages more than 200.000 calls daily.
  • After 60 years of existence, the Pentagon was attacked by terrorists.
  • There is the possibility to have guided visits of the Pentagon.

The history and some peculiarities of the biggest building on Earth.

– The biggest office building in the world offers any type of services:

  • Shopping center.
  • Metro and bus stations.
  • Gym for the military and civil employees.
  • Almost 700 fountains and 284 rest areas.
  • Meditation and oration areas.
  • More than 20 restaurants of fast food and cafe bars (McDonalds, PizzaHut, Taco Bell, Starbucks etc.).

– USPS (United States Postal Service) assigned it 6 different postal codes. Although located in Virginia, they figure out as Washington DC.

– Due to the shortage of steel suffered by the country, as consequence of the Second World War, the Congress requested the minimum amount of steel to be used for the construction of the building. Concrete slopes were used instead of elevators in order to minimize the use of steel for the building of the Pentagon.

– They managed to save up to 43.000 tons of steel, sufficient to build a warship.

– The construction of this building coincided with the period of racial segregation in USA. Its design came from it. In that period, discrimination rules were passed in the State of Virginia, which said that Black persons would not be allowed to use the baths and dining rooms of White people.

In order to fulfil with the racial rules of the time, dining rooms for Black people were installed in the basement of the building and every floor had two separate baths, divided by race and gender. As a consequence, the biggest office building in the world counts with double sanitary installations, because of the building´s size.

President Roosevelt asked the military army to stop with the racial discrimination and he ordered that the signs on the bathrooms ¨only white people¨ must be taken off in 1941. Until 1965, Pentagon was the only building in the County of Virginia that applied the rules of racial segregation.

– The idea of “the zero zone” comes from the time of the Cold War when everyone thought the Pentagon would be perfect for a possible attack with nuclear weapon from the soviets because of its strange form. From air, the building takes the form of a target, due to its 5 sides.

– During several decades, the Pentagon has been the target of the strikes before the War, being also the headquarter of the Defence Department of USA. The long stories of the protesters started at the end of the 60´s, as a way to protest on the Vietnam War.

The 21st of October 1967 took place one of the mostly known strikes in the history, created by 35.000 protesters against on the Vietnam War. They were welcomed in front of the building by 2.500 armed soldiers. Transferred into films and documentaries, this incident remained in the world history, due to George Harris´ gesture of placing flowers in the barrels of the soldiers´ guns.

On 17th of March 2007, thousands of persons protested against the Iraq War in front of the building and other antebellum strikes were set afterwards.

– On 11th of September of 2011, the Pentagon became the target of a terrorist attack after 60 years of existence. This particular attack was carried on by hijacking a commercial plane that collided with the Pentagon. This caused the death of all the passengers of flight 77 American Airlines and burst discussions among experts of the entire world. The reason to debate was that such a plane could not cause so much damage to the building. Scientific arguments were brought.

Different expert pilots reinforced the recurrent theories by arguing that a Boeing 757 would never be able to do such a manoeuvre. The video recording of a security camera has also put the original version in doubt.

Do you have any meeting inside the biggest office building in the world?

There is a clear explanation of the protocol that a person must follow before meeting someone inside the Pentagon. This is explained on the Defence Department of USA official site:

“Due to security reasons, we do not provide a map of the Pentagon. Normally, each visitor will be given a contact number of the person who will be meeting with. A particular office will provide a special escort which will be waiting at the Pentagon´s reception desk. You will meet the escort only after passing through all the security systems. Each visitor is able to circulate inside the Pentagon only if he has a temporary ID card which comes with the date on it and only accompanied by the specific escort. For some additional assistance, you will need to contact the person who you will be meeting with.”

If someone needs to visit another person inside the Pentagon and has a car, he will have to manage to get a parking space also. For it, this is the protocol:

“In case you need a temporary parking space, we suggest you to communicate with the Pentagon´s Subdivision of Parking Spaces” (PBM). PBM manages the program of available parking spaces. Any reservation of the parking spaces in the Pentagon is strictly supervised. Due to our security measures, visitors must previously show their ID and the plate license.”

– Guided visits of Pentagon have been renewed, since they were totally forbidden after the terrorist attacks. We must understand we are not talking about any kind of visit to a normal building, but the military headquarter of USA.

Sources: defense.gov (US Defence Department) / Vogel, Steve (2007) The Pentagon: A History / Washington Post/ Weyeneth, Robert (2005) The Architecture of Racial Segragation / Newseek (U.S Edition) / Goldberg, Alfred (1992) The Pentagon.

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