India's Surat Diamond Bourse overtakes The Pentagon as world's largest office building

Narendra Modi expected to open 15-storey building before gemstone companies move in

The Surat Diamond Bourse is now the world's largest building. Photo: Surat Diamond Bourse
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A building in India’s diamond city of Surat has surpassed The Pentagon to become the world’s largest office.

Surat in Gujarat state is known as the world’s diamond capital, where 90 per cent of the precious stones are cut.

It will now house the world’s largest office building, the Surat Diamond Bourse, dedicated to the gemstone industry.

The 15-storey building has more than 7.1 million square feet of floor space, outdoing The Pentagon, the headquarters of the US defence department in Arlington Co, Virginia, which has 6.5 million sq ft.

It is 81.9 metres tall and cost 32 billion rupees ($38 million) to build.

The Diamond Bourse was designed by Delhi-based Morphogenesis and is based on the concept of Panchtatva, the five elements of nature – water, fire, air, earth and sky.

“It is the world’s largest building,” Sonali Rastogi, co-founder of Morphogenesis, told The National. "It houses different sizes of offices but are all meant for diamond merchants.

"There are 300 sq ft to 25,000 sq ft offices. It has been built for the diamond merchant community."

The building has a unique design of nine interconnected rectangular structures emanating from a central spine.

It can house more than 4,700 diamond offices and 65,000 industry professionals, including cutters, polishers and traders, the architects said.

The building offers dining, retail, wellness and conference services and has marble floors and light-filled atriums connecting all office space.

There are courtyards with seating and water features.

Ms Rastogi said no office takes longer than seven minutes to reach from any of the building’s entry gates.

Construction started in 2019 although not with the intention of creating the world’s largest office building, she said.

“It was a global, two-stage competition that was floated by the committee of the Surat Diamond Board,” she said.

"We won the competition. It took us four and a half years to finish the building.

“When it started, it wasn’t trying to become the largest building. Slowly some of the requirements grew and some things got added to the project and then it turned out to be bigger than the Pentagon.”

The building was ready on time and diamond companies had bought all available office space before construction was complete, Ms Rastogi said.

It will welcome its first occupants in November and is likely to be officially opened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose home state is Gujarat.

“Surat Diamond Bourse showcases the dynamism and growth of Surat's diamond industry,” Mr Modi tweeted on Wednesday.

"It is also a testament to India’s entrepreneurial spirit.

"It will serve as a hub for trade, innovation and collaboration, further boosting our economy and creating employment opportunities."

Updated: July 19, 2023, 11:52 AM