A $110 million airship hangar, the world’s largest freestanding building, located 60km south of Berlin is being transformed to a Tropical Islands Resort today, a massive water park and indoor rain-forest.
The massive hangar, measuring 360m long by 210m wide by 107m high, was built by Carl von Gablenz, a German entrepreneur who thought that helium airships were the future of heavy machinery transport. The 194-million-cubic-foot structure, one of the world’s biggest buildings by volume was originally commissioned by CargoLifter AG as a hangar for a prototype airship. When the company went bankrupt in 2002, it sold the 351-foot-high hangar to a Malaysian company called Tanjong, which repurposed the massive structure into a reproduction of a seaside village complete with a water park and the world’s largest indoor pool.
As part of the reconstruction they welded the 600-ton steel doors shut, replaced its steel skin with 17,000 sqm. of translucent film, and brought along everything they needed to build a totally immersive, totally fake paradise: 183m of sandy beach for a fake shoreline, 50,000 trees of some 600 varieties, comprising the world’s biggest indoor rainforest, and, of course, a nine-storey water slide that sends riders shooting down into a 2500sqm swimming pool at 70km/h.