The Pentagon

The Pentagon is the headquarters building of the United States Department of Defense. It was constructed on an accelerated schedule during World War II. As a symbol of the U.S. military, the phrase The Pentagon is often used as a metonym for the Department of Defense and its leadership.

The Pentagon
Aerial view in 2018 from above the Potomac River
General information
Architectural styleClassical Revival, Modern Movement, Stripped Classicism
LocationRichmond Hwy./VA 110 at I-395, Arlington County, Virginia
Coordinates38°52′15″N 77°03′18″W
Construction started11 September 1941 (1941-09-11)
Completed15 January 1943 (1943-01-15)
Cost$83 million (equivalent to $1.14 billion in 2020)[1]
OwnerUnited States Department of Defense
Roof77 ft (23 m)[2]
Technical details
Floor count7 (2 underground)
Floor area6,636,360 sq ft (620,000 m2)
Design and construction
Architect(s)George Bergstrom
David J. Witmer
Main contractorJohn McShain, Inc.
Other information
Parking67 acres (27 ha)
Pentagon Office Building Complex
NRHP reference No.89000932[3]
VLR No.000-0072
Significant dates
Added to NRHP27 July 1988
Designated VLR18 April 1989[4]

Located in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., the building was designed by American architect George Bergstrom and built by contractor John McShain. Ground was broken on 11 September 1941, and the building was dedicated on 15 January 1943. General Brehon Somervell provided the major impetus to gain Congressional approval for the project;[5] Colonel Leslie Groves was responsible for overseeing the project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which supervised it.

The Pentagon is the world's largest office building, with about 6.5 million square feet (150 acres; 60 ha) of floor space, of which 3.7 million square feet (85 acres; 34 ha) are used as offices.[6][7] Some 23,000 military and civilian employees,[7] and another 3,000 non-defense support personnel, work in the Pentagon. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 mi (28.2 km)[7] of corridors. The central five-acre (2.0 ha) pentagonal plaza is nicknamed "ground zero" on the presumption that it would be a prime target in a nuclear war.[8]

In 2001, the Pentagon was damaged during the September 11 attacks. Five al-Qaeda hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the western side of the building, killing themselves and 184 others: 59 on the airplane and 125 in the Pentagon.[9] It was the first significant foreign attack on Washington's governmental facilities since the city was burned by the British during the War of 1812. Following the attacks, the western side of the building was repaired, with a small indoor memorial and chapel added at the point of impact. An outdoor memorial dedicated to the Pentagon victims of 9/11 opened in 2008.

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