Emporis, the international provider of building data, have revealed its list of the World’s Most Spectacular Bank Buildings.
Banking corporations generally have a very corporate, commercial and perhaps sterile reputation. It seems, however, that their financial assets over the last two decades have translated to some magnificent architecture and instantly recognisable bank headquarters.
“Leading banks administer our money from impressive company headquarters that fulfil that latest standards in sustainability, design and functionality,” explained Emporis of the architectural trend.
Of the 12 buildings listed, cities aligned with strong financial districts such as New York, London and Hong Kong make the list along with Australia’s very own Macquarie Bank Centre in Sydney.
Located in King Street Wharf, Macquarie Bank Centre holds a 6 Green Star Rating and spans 36,000 square metres.
The building’s lattice-like façade, which the architects called a ‘diagrid,’ has captured global attention and has given the headquarters an iconic status in the CBD.
It was completed in 2009 by Brookfield Multiplex, which commissioned Bluescope to provide the structural elements for the project. Bluescope constructed the diagrid from XLERPLATE® steel, which was galvanised to prevent corrosion. The diagrid envelopes the entire building eliminating the need for internal columns.
“The sophisticated interior design of the comparatively low building does entirely without load-bearing columns and provides light-flooded, colourful workspaces that jut out into the atrium at various levels and in various shapes,” explained Emporis.
According to the architects, fitzpatrick+partners, the diagrid enabled the lift and stairs to be “freed from their traditional bracing role, and...glazed to further enhance the activity and sense of movement through the building.”
Also on Emporis' list is the globally renowned Bank of China in Hong Kong, which was the first building outside the USA to break the 1,000-foot mark. It stands as one of the world’s tallest corporate headquarters.
Completed in 1990, the highly recognisable headquarters is a 367-metre skyscraper designed by starchitect I.M. Pei. Inside the building, an atrium spans 15 storeys of the 70-storey building and its striking diagonal glass façade has made the building iconic to Hong Kong.
“Its sharp-edged appearance, the triangular elements of its form, the shiny reflective façade and the metal panels that are illuminated at night all serve to make the tower reminiscent of a gigantic crystal,” said Emporis.
There was little doubt a Manhattan skyscraper would make the list, with the Bank of America Tower built in 2009 earning a nod. The tower currently holds a LEED Platinum certification, though there has been recent controversy as some have claimed the tower is not actually as sustainable as it claims.
“The mast atop the total 366-metre building is not an antenna that has been attached to the roof, but a permanent element towering up out of the glass-clad structure," Emporis said. "In addition, the skyscraper has been commended for being particularly eco-friendly and energy-saving.”
The sail-inspired design of the National Bank of Dubai building also made Emporis’ list. The building was one of the city’s earliest skyscrapers and was the fifth-tallest in Dubai when construction was completed in 1998.
Co-designed by NORR and Carlos Ott, the 16-storey skyscraper is clad in gold glass and grey granite with a design that reflects the sweeping sail of a dhow (an Arabian boat). It is rumoured to have inspired the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.
“The triumph of this building is not its height, a factor of great importance in this part of the world, but its proportional execution,” explained NORR. “While not amongst the tallest, the building remains one of the most striking projects in Dubai.”
Looking forward, Emporis reports that the global economic challenges of cities such as Cyprus and Spain will not deter the ambitious design of future bank buildings.
In 2009, the Co-Op Bank in Cyprus moved into a new designer building dedicated to urban space, collaboration and sustainability.
“The (building) addresses a total system of functions including office, recreation and culture spaces in an active engagement in the urban and cultural development of the city of Nicosia,” said MRA, the architects behind the project.
Spain's largest bank, BBVA, has commissioned Herzog & de Meuron to build its new company headquarters in Madrid, a project that is slated to be completed this year.
“We propose the creation of an artificial garden, an oasis, evolving from inside out—a place that establishes a balance between the natural environment and the buildings, and functions like a small city” said the architects..
The fluid architectural design of the project will feature buildings, gardens and a slender, disk-shaped tower in a bid to stand out in the skyline according to Herzog & de Meuron - an objective similar to those achieved by the 12 most spectacular bank buildings.