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Spain supersized: Showcasing the country's most colossal buildings
Tuesday, May 3, 2022 @ 8:30 PM

IMAGINE you're at a pub quiz and the question came up, “Which is the largest building in Spain?”

Chances are, if you're reading this, you either live in Spain, spend a lot of time here on visits or holidays, or you have a strong interest in this fascinating chunk of land in Europe's far south-west – the peninsula, its island regions that spread out from halfway to Italy in one direction and to southern Morocco in another, and its cities along the north African coast. So, it's likely your pen is poised as your brain instinctively reassures you, “Oh, that's easy! It's...”

And now you're stuck.

We might be able to help you out, but you'd need to probe the quizmaster or quizmistress for more information first.

Does the question refer to the tallest? 

The largest single structure? 

The one with the most floors? 

The biggest commercial building?

The building with the greatest area size, or floor space, irrespective of how many storeys it has?

The building whose structure covers the most ground?

What we can tell you about the latter is that the one you're looking at in the first picture above (by Civitatis), and which isn't an airport terminal, could gobble up Westminster Palace – those iconic Houses of Parliament along the banks of the Thames in London – nearly two-and-a-half times over, Buckingham Palace almost four times, and Wembley Stadium seven times...and that it's not where you think it is.


Tallest buildings

Skyscrapers are a recent phenomenon in Spain. Only 18 of the tallest today were standing as at the end of last century, and the four highest, company head offices in Madrid, are barely 15 years old and clustered together in the district known as – guess what? - Las Cuatro Torres.

Madrid's Cuatro Torres, or Four Towers. The tallest, the Torre de Cristal, is the pointy one second from right…and the blocks of flats below them give an idea of their sheer size (photo: Madrid Polytechnic on Flickr)

The first of these to go up, the Emperador Tower, was completed in 2007 and stands 230 metres (754 feet) and 56 floors high; the lift breaking down if your office is near the roof is almost certainly a valid excuse for not going into work that day.

Three more appeared in 2008, being the Torre PwC (PwC Tower), at 236 metres (774 feet) and 52 floors, then the headquarters of the national petroleum company CEPSA, at 248 metres and 33 centimetres, or 815 feet, but with a 'mere' 45 floors, and finally, the tallest building in the whole of Spain, the Torre de Cristal, or 'Glass Tower', at 249 metres (817 feet), with 52 floors.



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