8 Most Expensive Buildings Ever Constructed in History

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They used to say “the eight wonders of the world” as a description of the eight most significant buildings and historical sites that people could see. Those wonders, which encompass anything from the Great Pyramids to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, are inestimable in value. By contrast, these buildings have clear dollar signs attached to them. They are our modern wonders, the most complicated and fancy buildings anywhere, with the price tags to match.

Continue reading to learn about the 8 most expensive buildings in the world. Based on what’s currently under construction, this list is bound to change in the next five years. But for now, here are the world wonders to watch.

  1. Wynn Palace
  2. Price: $4.2 billion
    Location: Cotai, Macau
    Year completed: 2016
    Designer: Butler/Ashworth Architects and Wong & Ouyang
    Owner: Wynn Resorts
    Wynn Palace
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons

    The Wynn Palace is the third most expensive resort building in the world (see below). Wynn Resorts built this recreation palace in the Macau Special Administrative Region, an area within the People’s Republic of China, specifically in Cotai, a city in Macau.

    This hotel has 1,706 rooms, 106,000 sq. ft. of retail space, thirteen restaurants, the largest spa in the country, a pool, and a 424,000 sq. ft. casino. The Wynn Palace cost $4.2 billion to build in 2016.

    Did you know?

    One of the Wynn Palace’s main attractions is the Performance Lake, an 8-acre water display. The resort also houses an extensive collection of massive floral displays by the designer Preston Bailey, a ton of valuable art works, and over 1,000 rooms that have won the Five Star Award for quality by the Forbes Travel Guide. It also has more Forbes Five-Star restaurants than any resort in the world. These include the renowned luxury restaurant, Sichuan Moon.


  3. Resorts World Sentosa
  4. Price: $4.93 billion
    Location: Singapore, Singapore
    Year completed: 2010
    Designer: Michael Graves
    Owner: Genting Group
    Resorts World Sentosa
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons

    Resorts World Sentosa is an integrated resort and not the last one on this list. This resort includes not only a hotel but other convention complexes, theme parks, retail centers, restaurants, and more. They are connected by one huge building, the RWS, designed by Michael Graves and completed in 2010 for $4.93 billion.

    This resort on the Southern coast of Singapore is one of the world’s most luxurious and includes a museum, the world’s second largest oceanarium, the Galleria of Luxury Fashion, and a waterpark, as well as famous restaurants like Tunglok Heen, Palio, and Osia.

    Did you know?

    In addition to these attractions as well as one of Singapore’s two official casinos, Resorts World Sentosa also includes the Universal Studios Singapore theme park, the only other Universal Park in Asia other than Universal Studios Japan.


  5. Apple Park
  6. Price: $5 billion
    Location: Cupertino, California
    Year completed: 2017
    Designer: Foster and Partners
    Owner: Apple Inc.
    Apple Park
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons

    Apple Park is Apple Inc.’s corporate headquarters. For a company that prides itself on luxury technology, you would expect their headquarters to be lavish and they don’t disappoint. Norman Foster designed the complex as a circle, a blueprint known as a “groundscraper” that encompasses about 64 acres of land.

    Apple Park houses 12,000 employees and cost $5 billion to build back in 2017.

    Did you know?

    Steve Jobs wanted Apple Park to look more like a nature reserve than a business installation. This is why the complex is 80% occupied by green planting space consisting of indigenous trees and plants. The main courtyard of the central building has a pond inside.


  7. SoFi Stadium
  8. Price: $5.5 billion
    Location: Inglewood, United States
    Year completed: 2020
    Designer: HKS, Inc.
    Owner: Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
    SoFi Stadium
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons

    The So-Fi Stadium is the most expensive building in the United States, costing $5.5 billion to build. It was finished in 2020 and opened to the public to host both the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams, making it one of only four major stadiums in the country to be the home field of two NFL teams and the only one to do so outside of New York. It hosts the yearly LA Bowl as well.

    SoFi is in Inglewood, California and was designed with a canopy fitted with cutting-edge projection technology. The stadium seats 70,240 people but can be expanded to over 100,000.

    Did you know?

    The SoFi Stadium hosted Super Bowl LVI. It is also slated to host WrestleMania 39, the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship, and the ceremonies of the 2028 Summer Olympics.


  9. Marina Bay Sands
  10. Price: $5.5 billion
    Location: Singapore, Singapore
    Year completed: 2010
    Designer: Moshe Safdie
    Owner: Las Vegas Sands
    Marina Bay Sands
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons

    The Marina Bay Sands is a major resort property in Singapore on the Bayfront Subzone. This enormous building designed by Moshe Safdie contains 2,561 rooms, a 1.3 million sq. ft. convention center, an indoors mall and museum, theater, restaurants, pavilions, science exhibits, art galleries, and a casino in the atrium with 500 game tables and 1,600 slot machines.

    The three skyscrapers of the Marina Bay Sands are connected by the SkyPark, which is a 4,000-person capacity cantilevered platform, which includes conference and recreation spaces galore as well as an infinity pool (or zero-edge pool) hanging over the side of the building. This incredible construct cost $5.5 billion to build.

    Did you know?

    Marina Bay Sands opened in 2010. It ushered itself into existence with a 13-minute laser, light, and water show (called “Wonder Full”) and a performance by Olympic skater Michelle Kwan on the resort’s indoor skating rink.


  11. Olkiluoto 3
  12. Price: $12.4 billion
    Location: Eurajoki, Finland
    Year completed: 2021
    Designer: Areva
    Owner: Areva
    Olkiluoto 3
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons

    There are two nuclear power plants in Finland. Unit 3 of the second plant is known as Olkiluoto 3 and is one of the most expensive buildings ever constructed. Areva built it for $12.4 billion starting in 2005, though it wasn’t fully completed until 2020. The complex around it was built back in 1973.

    The construction of this building created 30,000 of what are known as “person-years,” which is a measure of employment estimated by the amount of work created by the building’s construction.

    Did you know?

    Unit 3 of the plant went through final testing in 2021, with electricity production slated for July 2022. Finland hopes to have this massive plant operational within the next few years.


  13. Abraj Al Bait
  14. Price: $16 billion
    Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
    Year completed: 2012
    Designer: Saudi Binladin Group
    Owner: Government of Saudi Arabia
    Abraj Al Bait
    photo source: Flickr

    The Abraj Al Bait or “Towers of the House” are a massive complex comprising seven interconnected Skyscrapers located in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Despite receiving thousands of pilgrims each year on their holy voyage, Mecca had long been an unmodernized city until state-sponsored endowment projects created facilities like this building.

    It is the fourth-tallest building in the world as well as the second most expensive to build, costing $16 billion when it was completed in 2012.

    Did you know?

    This complex is directly adjacent to the mosque that occupies the number one spot. Its construction was hotly contested by the Turkish government since it involved the demolition of a gorgeous 18th century Ottoman citadel known as the Ajyad Fortress.


  15. The Great Mosque of Mecca
  16. Price: $100 billion
    Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
    Year completed: 2021
    Designer: KSA
    Owner: Government of Saudi Arabia
    The Great Mosque of Mecca
    photo source: Flickr

    The most expensive building is The Great Mosque of Mecca. This building, designed for the Government of Saudi Arabia in Mecca and completed in 2021, cost an unbelievable $100 billion to build, making it far and away the most expensive building ever constructed in the modern age. Also known as the Masjid al-Haram, this mosque is one of the ultimate destinations for people on ‘umrah pilgrimages, which encompass millions of worshippers each year.

    This mosque is also the largest mosque in the world. Only 7 buildings of any kind in the world are larger. The King of Saudi Arabia, with the title of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” now controls this holy place.

    Did you know?

    The Great Mosque of Mecca is the destination of the Hajj, the holy Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. It is a non-optional religious duty for practicing Muslims at least once in their life, provided they are physically able to make the journey. Hajj or literally “pilgrimage” is one of the five pillars of Islam alongside oath, alms, fasting, and prayer.


The Takeaway

Other buildings are slated to take spots on this list in the next few years, including the ITER, a nuclear fusion plant in France slated to finish in 2025 and another in Turkey. However, for now, these 8 buildings, from plants to resorts to company headquarters to temples, represent the most expensive buildings in the world. Though most are located in the Middle East and Asia where government building and budgeting restrictions are much less strict, they represent not only the states that built them but the artists and patrons that made them possible.

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