The World's Heaviest Building

The Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest, Romania.
The Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest, Romania.

Bucharest’s Palace of Parliament, also known as the House of the Republic or the People’s House, is one of the most controversial buildings in Romania due to its historical and physical stature. It represents one of the most extravagant and expensive buildings in the history of humankind. It is the world’s second largest building after the Pentagon in the United States by surface area and the heaviest administrative building on earth used for civilian purposes. The imposing Palace of Parliament houses the Romanian Senate and the Chambers of Deputies. The building is also the headquarters of the Southeast European Corporative Initiative (SECI) and a major tourist attraction.

The Location And Dimensions Of The Building

The Palace of Parliament is located in the center of Bucharest on the present day Dealul Arsenalului with the Izvor Street to the west and the UN Avenue to the north. The building has a height of 275.6 feet and covers an area of 1.41 square miles and having a volume of 2.55 million cubic meters. It is the heaviest building in the world weighing about 9.04 billion pounds. The Palace of Parliament was valued at $3.4 billion in 2008 making it the most expensive administrative building in the world. The building is 12 stories tall and has 1,100 rooms constructed in Roman style.

The Construction Of The People’s House

The once great and cosmopolitan city of Bucharest lay in ruins after the two World Wars and the devastating 1977 earthquake. On the other hand, Romania’s Communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, was at the peak of his power creating a pervasive cult personality. He focused on erasing anything that was before him from the popular imagination. He began to demolish the deteriorating buildings in the capital and rebuilding the city in his design leading to the construction of the People’s House. He achieved the idea of building the People’s House after his visit to North Korea in 1972. The building was to be the largest and the most lavish in the world and was intended to host all his functions as well as serving as a residence for him and his wife.

The construction of the building began with the laying of the cornerstone on June 25, 1984. The building was designed by over 700 architects that combined elements and motifs from several classical sources to create an indefinable style. Most of the works were carried out by forced laborers which significantly minimized the cost. Between 10,000 and 20,000 toiled day and night in a shift, seven days a week to build the palace. Ceausescu had to take foreign debts to finance the construction work and systematically starved the Romanian population by exporting the country’s agricultural and industrial products to repay the debts. Several people died in the building with some sources estimating the figures at over 3,000. By the time of the Revolution in 1989, the building was not yet completed. Today, only 400 out of the 1,100 rooms have been completed.

Building And Decorating In Figures

The building needed 1 million cubic meters of marble, 0.9 million cubic meters of a wood essence, and 3,500 tons of crystal while for building the palace while 220,000 m2 of carpet and 4,000 m2 of skin was needed for decorating the interior of the building. All the material used in the building were of Romanian origin except the doors of the Nicolae Balcescu Hall which were gifts from Mobutu Sese Seko, the then President of the Republic of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).


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