What is the biggest house in the world?
This unique honour goes to the largest house in the world, Mumbai’s Antilia, the 37,000sqm private residence was built in 2006.
Who owns the biggest house in the world?
Owned by one of the richest men in the world, Mukesh Ambani, the 27-storey skyscraper stands 190m tall, its address visible on the Mumbai skyline and is also the most expensive private residence in the world with an estimated value exceeding $USD2 billion.
The rich build luxurious and huge houses. The uber-rich build big and expensive mansions. But what exactly defines ‘the biggest house in the world’?
There are opulent royal palaces such as the 200,000sqm Istana Nurul Iman built for the Sultan of Brunei in 1984 at a cost of $1.5 billion, the Royal Palace of Madrid at 135,000sqm, or the Buckingham Palace, relatively modest at 77,000sqm. Then there are presidential palaces, the biggest of which is the Zhongnanhai complex, the official residence of the Chinese President in Beijing, spread over an area exceeding 3.43million sqm and valued at $USD38.83 billion.
To ensure a balanced comparison, this article covers some of the biggest privately owned residences in the world belonging to individuals or families.
Are there any planned houses that could overtake the mantle of the biggest building in the world?
At the moment, not to the best of Architecture & Design's knowledge, but if you know any projects on the horizon that might overtake Antilia, please contact us.
1. Antilia, Mumbai, India
Standing 27 storeys high, the 'cool' mega mansion, Antilia, is home to Mukesh Ambani, a leading Indian industrialist with interests in oil & gas and telecom, and one of the richest men in the world with a net worth exceeding $60 billion. The biggest mansion in the world was designed for the Ambani family by the Chicago-based architecture practice, Perkins and Will, and built by Australian construction firm, Leighton Holdings. Completed in 2010, Antilia is a 190m tall building with extra high ceilings, and inside the building, six floors of car parking space is designed to accommodate 168 cars, helipads on the roof with room for three helicopters, and an entire floor for air traffic control! The building can also withstand an earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale.
A unique facet of the design is that each floor has a different layout and is built using different materials. In addition to the family’s living quarters on the upper floors, the 37,000sqm building features a ballroom, a theatre, four floors of terrace gardens, a lobby with nine elevators, guest apartments, a temple and a two-storey recreation centre consisting of a spa, swimming pools, a dance studio, a yoga centre and a jacuzzi among others. An army of over 600 staff helps maintain the building.
2. Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Featuring a French Renaissance chateau-style architecture, Biltmore Estate was built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt, the grandson of shipping and railroad magnate, Cornelius Vanderbilt, on an 3200ha property.
The largest privately-owned residence in the United States, the 16,622sqm luxurious home, which continues to be owned by the wealthy family, features 250 rooms including 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, three kitchens, 65 fireplaces, a library, a bowling alley and a large indoor swimming pool. A winery, stables and gardens form part of the massive estate – the gardens have been designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who had also designed New York’s Central Park. While the house is open for tours, guests can stay at the hotel on the estate.
3. Witanhurst, London, UK
Next only to the Buckingham Palace in size, this heritage London home was designed by architect George Hubbard and completed in 1920. The 8400sqm home featuring Georgian Revival architecture has 65 rooms including 25 bedrooms, a dining room, a Chinese room and a billiards room, in addition to a swimming pool, movie theatre, massage parlour, sauna, gym and parking space.
The Witanhurst mansion was sold in 2008 to a mystery buyer, who ultimately was revealed as Russian billionaire Andrey Guryev.
4. Villa Leopolda, French Riviera, France
Designed by American architect Ogden Codman, Jr., this beautiful home on the French Riviera was built in 1931 for King Leopold II of Belgium as a gift for his mistress. Built on a 20-acre property, Villa Leopolda features 19 bedroom suites, numerous dining rooms and kitchens, and a private theatre across 7432sqm of built-up space, as well as 12 pools, sprawling gardens manned by 50 gardeners, an outdoor kitchen, a commercial greenhouse and a helipad.
Valued at $USD750 million in 2008, the property has had a string of owners including Fiat president Gianni Agnelli and is currently owned by Lily Safra who inherited it from her husband, Swiss banker Edmund Safra after his death.
5. Fair Field, Sagaponack, New York, USA
This Hamptons, Long Island home of billionaire investor Ira Rennert has had more than its share of controversy, mainly due to funding and zoning issues. The 5800sqm mega-mansion is situated on 25ha of prime Hamptons beachfront property and cost $USD110 million to build in the 1990s. Currently valued at $248 million, the home along with several buildings on the property total over 10,000sqm in area and is said to be one of the biggest houses in the US.
Feature highlights include 29 bedrooms, 39 bathrooms, 12 chimneys, a 30m long dining room, two libraries, a restaurant-sized kitchen, a 929sqm playhouse consisting of a basketball court and bowling alley, a 164-seat theatre, two pool houses, a 100-car garage, and a dedicated power plant. The book, The House that Ate the Hamptons was inspired by Fair Field.
6. Taohuayuan, Suzhou, China
This luxurious bespoke home could probably be the most expensive home in all of China. Taohuayuan, which means Utopia, is a palatial home built on a private island by Sunac China along with Xiangshanbang Traditional Architectural and Building Skills over three years. The 6700sqm home is located on the south shore of Suzhou’s Dushu Lake, offering its residents some of the most beautiful views in the natural surrounds.
Listed at $USD154 million when it was put on the market in 2016, this lavish garden home features 32 south-facing bedrooms, 32 bathrooms, a wine cellar, manicured gardens and an ornamental pond.
7. Fairwater, Sydney, Australia
Owned by the Fairfax family for over a century, this heritage home on a 1.12ha estate on Sydney Harbour was sold for $AUD100 million to Atlassian co-founder and tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes in 2018. Considered the most expensive home in Australia at the time of its sale, Lady Fairfax’s sprawling Point Piper mansion Fairwater was designed by the leading architect of the time, John Horbury Hunt and built in 1882. Fairwater is the largest privately owned property on the harbour with the waterfront estate extending from New South Head Road to Seven Shillings Beach.
The two-storey stately home features period finishes, stained glass windows, painted ceilings, decorative mosaic floors, door leafs and door furniture, panelled walls, and chimney pieces.
Fairwater was featured in Australia's Top 50 Mansions in The List's November 2019 issue.
Images: Wikipedia, Getty, Jeff Cully/EEFAS.