The Marina Bay Sands is located on the waterfront of Singapore's financial district. Credit: Pxhere

The secrets behind the world's most expensive buildings

The most expensive building on the planet is the Great Mosque of Mecca. It is followed by two megastructures that house luxury hotels, plus shops, restaurants and other exclusive venues. We investigate the secrets of the world's most expensive buildings.



The Great Mosque of Mecca, the Abraj Al-Bait complex in Mecca and the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore are three of the most expensive buildings in the world. Their high cost is a result of many factors, including the quality of the materials, the complexity of the design, the skilled labour required, the permits and regulations, and other unforeseen circumstances.


The Great Mosque of Mecca


The most expensive building on the planet is the Great Mosque of Mecca, also known as Masjid al-Haram. Its construction began in the 7th century AD and has undergone numerous extensions over the centuries. It is estimated that it cost around $100 billion to build this 400,000 square metre megastructure in Saudi Arabia. The most striking fact about this mosque, which is visited by millions of pilgrims every year, is that it can hold up to four million people at a time, the equivalent of almost half the population of London in one building.

According to the pillars of Islam, every Muslim who has the financial and physical means must make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. The mosque consists of rectangular central courtyard, surrounded by covered prayer areas. Those who make the pilgrimage must walk seven times counter-clockwise around the Ka'ba, a cubic stone structure in the courtyard that represents Allah's dwelling place on earth.


The Great Mosque of Mecca is the largest mosque in the world. Credit: Megaprojects


The Abraj Al-Bait


Second on this list is a megastructure also located in Mecca. The Abraj Al-Bait is the tallest skyscraper in Saudi Arabia and one of the tallest in the world. The 1.5 million square metre complex was built between 2002 and 2012 at a cost of $16 billion. At the top of the tower, which stands 601 metres tall and has more than 100 floors, is the world’s largest clock. It has four faces each with a diameter of more than 46 metres. Inside it houses a shopping centre with a capacity for 65,000 people, a prayer area and a five-star hotel.


Abraj Al-Bait is the tallest building in Saudi Arabia. Credit: Looking 4 (En)


The Marina Bay Sands


On the waterfront of Singapore's financial district stands the imposing Marina Bay Sands. These three gigantic skyscrapers, connected by a single roof, were designed by architect Moshe Safdie. They were built between 2006 and 2010 at a cost of around $6.2 billion. Covering an area of 845,000 square metres, the complex houses a 2,560-room hotel, a convention centre, shops, restaurants, theatres, museums and a casino. The hotel has two exclusive suites, each measuring 629 square metres. According to its creators, this is the equivalent of more than two tennis courts.

The owners claim that "the three iconic towers are among the most complex buildings ever built." Each has sloping and straight sections. The three meet at a height of 195 metres, creating a 9,941 square metre elevated park known as Sands SkyPark. The construction of this part of the Marina Bay Sands was one of the "most complex and challenging" phases of project. More than 7,000 tonnes of steel were pre-assembled at ground level in 14 individual pieces. Each piece was hoisted 200 metres using strand jacks, "more commonly used in bridge construction." Sands SkyPark features a public observatory, jogging tracks, gardens, restaurants, lounges and an infinity pool.


The Marina Bay Sands is notable for its three towers, connected at the top by an aerial park. Credit: Details in Luxury


Some of the world’s most expensive buildings include hotels, stadiums, offices and government buildings. Examples include the Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore; the SoFi Stadium, Apple Park and The Cosmopolitan in the United States; and Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest. In addition to their privileged location, exceptional design and high-quality materials, many of these buildings have something else in common: they are symbols of luxury and exclusivity.


Tungsteno is a journalism laboratory to scan the essence of innovation.

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