The Pentagon Is No Longer The World’s Biggest Office Building

The Pentagon, the US Department of Defense powerhouse in Virginia, was the world’s largest office building for over eight decades – but not anymore. That title has recently been yanked away by the Surat Diamond Bourse, a freshly opened diamond trading floor in western India.

The Surat Diamond Bourse consists of nine towers, each with 15 floors, connected by a central spine. According to Morphogenesis, the architecture firm behind its design, the building encompasses 660,451 square meters (7,109,045 square feet) of office space, surpassing the Pentagon’s floor space of 620,000 square meters (6,636,360 square feet). 

As its name suggests, its prime business will be diamond dealing, housing the offices of over 4,500 diamond traders. It will also feature a first-of-its-kind diamond mall, including 27 diamond jewellery showrooms.

The structure was built with the environment in mind. While some of the office spaces will feature air conditioners, much of the complex will be self-shaded from the sun. Furthermore, it’s orientated to maximize natural ventilation from the wind, and features an extensive array of solar panels on its roof. 

The dazzling building was opened at an inauguration ceremony on December 17, 2023, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

It’s set to become the centerpiece of the Diamond Research and Mercantile City (DREAM), an up-and-coming business district in Surat. Currently, much of the surrounding landscape is merely cleared land and constructed sites, but the area has aspirations of becoming the diamond capital of the world. 

India is not even in the top 10 producers of diamonds in the world, but the city of Surat has risen to become an important hub in the diamond trade, where 90 percent of the planet’s processed diamonds are cut.

In years gone by, diamond dealers would have to travel 241 kilometers (150 miles) southwards to Mumbai to do business, but the Surat Diamond Bourse hopes to save that commute and offer merchants a one-stop destination for trade. 

However, there are some reservations that the diamond trading mega-complex may be all glitz and no substance, according to The Times of India

Kiran Gems – an industry giant that played an instrumental role in the building’s development – relocated their HQ back to the Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai just three months after moving to the Surat Diamond Bourse. This has led to some speculation about whether the grand plan will flop in the face of competition from Mumbai.

“There is always resistance to change. Even if Surat is not happening today, it will progress within five years,” Tehmasp Printer, CEO of International Gemological Institute, told the Indian newspaper. 

“The good news is that the world-class infrastructure is ready. Now, the city needs to rev up, ensure better connectivity, get hotels, hospitals and schools”, he added.

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