Taking our “Here’s Why” from the paper to the blog. An explanation for why something is the way it is in the Air Force/military.
The façade of the Supreme Court. The Taj Mahal. The Leaning Tower of Pisa. All iconic landmarks. All composed of marble.
An iconic building to military personnel and the world’s largest office building — the Pentagon — could have been made out of marble, but building planners said, “No way.” Why?
According to the Pentagon tours website, the Pentagon has no marble because “it was built during World War II, and Italy, the source of marble, was an enemy country.”
The military also needed a headquarters because of the rapidly increasing number of service members in the Washington, D.C., area during World War II, so the building plans for the Pentagon were ordered to be drawn up pretty fast.
On July 17, 1941, a Thursday, Gen. Brehon B. Somervell ordered drawings for a 4-million-square-foot, air-conditioned office building for 40,000 workers, with four stories but no elevators (there are some elevators now for handicapped accessibility); over the weekend, architects came up with the a five-sided building fulfilling all of Somervell’s requirements.
The building was constructed out of reinforced concrete. The design supposedly ensured that a walk between any two points in the building should take no more than seven minutes.
The Pentagon opened 16 months later on January 15, 1943.