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China Unveils Massive Building — With Fake Beach, Fake Sun

A view of the New Century Global Center in Chengdu, China. The structure — located in a suburb of Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan province — is home to an indoor beach and a faux Mediterranean village.
Barcroft Media/Landov
A view of the New Century Global Center in Chengdu, China. The structure — located in a suburb of Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan province — is home to an indoor beach and a faux Mediterranean village.

The Chinese are calling the New Century Global Center, which opened in late June in Chengdu, the world's largest stand-alone structure.

A view of a section of the Paradise Island Water Park, which features an artificial beach, in the New Century Global Center in Chengdu, China.
Barcroft Media / Landov
/
Landov
A view of a section of the Paradise Island Water Park, which features an artificial beach, in the New Century Global Center in Chengdu, China.

Inside, visitors can shop, stay at either of two 1,000-room luxury hotels, go to a skating rink, or even a fake beach or fake Mediterranean village all lit by a fake sun.

It isn't the world's tallest building — that honor belongs to Dubai's Burj Khalifa; nor is it the largest — that's the Boeing Everett Factory in Everett, Wash. What the New Century Global Center appears to be is the world's biggest building by floor space. Just how big is it?

Well, inside it you can fit ...

... 20 of these

Sydney Opera House in Australia
David Davies / PA Photos/Landov
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PA Photos/Landov
Sydney Opera House in Australia

four of these ...

St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
Matteo Losito / AP
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AP
St. Peter's Square at the Vatican

and three of these ...

The Pentagon building, outside Washington, D.C.
Jason Reed / Reuters/Landov
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Reuters/Landov
The Pentagon building, outside Washington, D.C.

Now, if the name Chengdu, China, sounds familiar, it's probably because you recall it as the scene of the devastating earthquake in 2008, which killed nearly 70,000 people. Much of that area has been rebuilt in the five years after the quake — with mixed results.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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