The world’s most expensive buildings

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

According to, the following buildings rank as some of the world’s most expensive buildings constructed in recent times.

During the course of history, architecture has been used to make a statement. In many instances it has been used to illustrate religious or economic prowess. In other instances, important art collections, libraries and exhibitions have been housed in extraordinary architecturally designed establishments. Well-heeled individuals, patrons of the arts, world leaders, companies, governments and resort owners alike have also used architecture to fashion some of the world’s most notable buildings and landmarks. Generally speaking, such projects don’t come cheap. According to, the following buildings rank as some of the world’s most expensive buildings constructed in recent times.

Abraj Al Bait, Mecca, Saudi Arabia - $15bn

Designed by Dar Al-Handasah, the Abraj Al Bait towers or Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel forms part of the King Abdul-Aziz Endowment Project. The project was initiated with a view to modernising the city of Mecca so that it could better serve the millions of pilgrims which flood the city every year. In addition to being the most expensive building in the world, it is also the world’s third tallest building at 601 metres. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai currently holds the world record at 828 metres. The building is owned by the Saudi Arabian government.

most expensive buildingAbraj Al Bait

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore - $8bn

Located along a prime portion of land at Marina Bay in Singapore, this striking building topped by an incredible ‘sky garden’ in the shape of a ship forms part of an integrated resort. It was developed by the Las Vegas Sands and holds the accolade of the world’s most expensive stand-alone casino property. The designer - Moshe Safdie - is reported as saying that architects need to think about buildings as pieces of Lego that should connect with the wider structure of the city.

altTextMarina Bay Sands

Resorts World, Sentosa Island, Singapore - $5.4bn

Singapore can lay claim to another of the world’s most expensive buildings thanks to Resorts World. Located at Sentosa Island, this building complex comprises two casinos, a Universal Studios theme park, an Adventure Cove Water Park and a marine life park which features the world’s largest oceanarium. The resort occupies approximately 49 hectares and employs approximately 10 000 people. The property was designed by John Elliot and is owned by the Genting Group. In a short space of time Resorts World has become a favourite with families and gamblers the world over.

altTextResorts world

Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi - $4.5bn

The Emirates Palace is a luxury, landmark hotel built with a view to showcasing Arabian culture. The palatial hotel is situated on 1.3km’s of private beach and is surrounded by 85 hectares of gardens and lawns. It offers 394 rooms and five-star service. In addition to luxury suites complete with whirlpool baths and butler service, there are 14 restaurants and bars, adventure and leisure pools, a spa, a fitness centre, a private beach and marina. The hotel was designed by John Elliot and is owned by the Abu Dhabi government.

altTextEmirates Palace

Australian Parliament, Australia - $4.21bn

Australia cracked one of the top spots with this striking building. Located in the capital of Canberra, this building plays host to Australia’s parliament. It was opened in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II. The design was selected through an international two-stage competition which attracted 329 entries from 18 countries. The winning design was submitted by New York based, Italian architect Romaldo Giurgola who oversaw its construction.

altTextAustralian Parliament Building

Other buildings which count amongst some of the most expensive buildings in the world include:

  • The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas: $4.15bn
  • The One World Trade Centre, New York: $3.8bn
  • The Wynn Resort, Las Vegas: $3.25bn
  • Venetian Macau, China: $3bn
  • The City of Dreams, China: $2. 75bn
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