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The Pentagon

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The Pentagon


Structure in General

low-rise building
existing [completed]
pile foundation
light gray


governmental office logistics center


  • The Pentagon is the headquarters for the United States Department of Defense.
  • One of the world's largest office buildings, with roughly three times the floor space of the Empire State Building.
  • A five-acre, pentagonal, open courtyard is located in the center of the building.
  • For the construction, 332,000 cubic metres (435,000 cubic yards) of concrete were realised from 617,000 tonnes of gravel and sand which were obtained from the Potomac River.
  • Employees undertook a staged occupation of the building as each successive section was completed; the first completed section was occupied by 300 workers in April 1942 whilst 22,000 were in situ by December of the same year.
  • Approximately 23,000 people, both military and civilian staff, work in the building.
  • The building was originally planned as a 4-story building, and the decision to add the fifth floor was not made until after work on the fourth floor roof had already begun; because of this late change, there are no windows on the external wall of the fifth floor.
  • 48 kilometres (30 miles) of access roads were built to facilitate construction.
  • The construction period lasted only 16 months and was undertaken by a workforce which at its peak, numbered around 13,000 workers.
  • The building has 131 stairways.
  • Part of the west façade was severely damaged in the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001.
  • The structure was built on reclaimed swamp and derelict industrial land, part of which was known as "Hell's Bottom".
  • The pentagonal plan recalls that of a historical fort.
  • The concentric pentagonal corridors and interconnecting "spokes" mean that no two distances are separated by a walk of more than seven minutes.
  • The building is constructed in the shape of a pentagon, with five concentric pentagonal rings connected by ten radial corridors.
  • The foundations comprised 41,492 concrete piles.
  • Construction commenced in August 1941 and whilst shift workers laboured non-stop seven days per week, over 1,000 architects drew up construction plans in an adjacent hangar.
  • Each of the five wedge-shaped sections can accommodate the United States Capitol building.
  • With 28 kilometres (17.5 miles) of corridors, The Pentagon was designed to incorporate the 17 buildings of the United States War Department into one.
  • Steel was passed over in favour of reinforced concrete as the main building material due to its limited supply during the Second World War; the quantity of steel saved was enough to construct a battleship.
  • Each façade is 280.72 metres (921 feet) in length and is clad in Indiana limestone.

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Technical Data

77.29 ft

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
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