The Biggest Buildings on Earth: From Airplane Assembly to Waterparks
Since so many of you responded to our article “The Top Warehousing Sites in the World” as it appeared in our January issue of Supply Chain Digital, we decided to follow it up with a piece on the largest buildings in the world, by volume. The warehousing ones were big in their own right, but the mammoth feats of construction that you see below take the cake in terms of size. Usable space and floor space define the title ‘biggest building in the world’ so it should come as no surprise that three of the largest buildings are assembly lines for the biggest things humans can make: airplanes. Well, technically, one of these buildings is an assembly line for NASA’s Space Shuttles, but space shuttles are in the same ballpark as airplanes so we’ll count it. We think you’ll be surprised at No. 3 on this list.
1. Boeing Plant
Location: Everett, Washington
Floor Area: 398,000 square meters (4.3 million square feet)
Volume: 13.3 million cubic meters (472 million cubic feet)
Description: The Boeing Plant in Everett opened in 1967 and it rolled out its first 747 on Sept. 30, 1968. It was originally built to house the construction of the flagship 747 model, but it is now home to the 787 Dreamliner model, which Boeing is using as a new flagship moving into 2011 and beyond.
Video: 787 Dreamliner
2. Jean-Luc Lagardere Plant
Location: Toulouse-Blagnac , France
Floor Area: 122,500 square meters (1,320,000 square feet)
Volume: 5.6 million cubic meters (199 million cubic feet)
Description: The Jean-Luc Lagardere Plant is the assembly hall and ground test site for the Airbus A380. The JLL plant helps manage and complete very short production deadlines for the Airbus A380 model. It’s been said that over 50,000 tons of steel was used in the construction of the Jean-Luc Lagardere Airbus A380 plant.
Video: Airbus A380 Construction
Location: Brandenburg, Germany
Floor Area: 70,000 square meters (753,000 square feet)
Volume: 5.2 million cubic meters (184 million cubic feet)
Description: The Aerium in Brandeburg is home to Tropical Islands, the largest indoor water park in the world. The Aerium was originally built to house the construction of a giant German gun ship, but the plans for that fell through. Now it’s home to an indoor tropical resort that sees over 8,000 visitors per day.
Video: Home Video of the Aerium
4. NASA Vehicle Assembly Building
Location: Brevard County, Florida
Floor Area: 32,374 square meters (348,000 square feet)
Volume: 3.66 million cubic meters (130 million cubic feet)
Descrip: Originally built for the simultaneous assembly of four Saturn V Rockets, the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building in Brevard County, Florida is home to all of NASA’s space construction and operations. To give you a little perspective on the height of NASA Assembly Building, consider that it’s 220 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty. On the guided tours given by NASA, the tour guides say this of the NASA Assembly Building: “If you could cut the Empire State building up into pieces, you could put it in the assembly building three and three quarter times.” Leave it up to the nerds at NASA to come up with such a convoluted way of saying, the size of the NASA Assembly Building is 3.75 Empire State Buildings. Go back to your cubicle, nerds. *Looks around at my own cubicle, sighs*
Video: NASA ASSEMBLY BUILDING TOUR
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Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.