Power Structures: The World’s Most Spectacular Corporate Buildings

Hamburg, April 9, 2013 – The taller, the bigger, the more eye-catching the better: more and more companies around the world are investing millions in spectacular corporate buildings in a desire to express their identity through architecture. Buildings range from offices at dizzying heights, to daring designs by star architects, to large company campuses. But, despite their diversity, these architectural calling cards all have one thing in common: they are all – put simply – impressive.

The world’s most dazzling corporate buildings have now been compiled by a jury of building experts from Emporis (www.emporis.com), the international provider of building data. Innovative design, visual impact and function of significant corporate architecture served as the selection criteria. Structures from all over the world, housing companies from all kinds of industries were considered.

Big companies such as the Malaysian petroleum giant Petronas, or the Bank of China, use the imposing effect of skyscrapers to represent their economic might. The 452 meter-tall twin Petronas Towers - the tallest buildings in the world up until 2004 – and the 367 meter-tall Bank of China Tower count among the world’s tallest corporate palaces.

Other companies create buildings that are outsize versions of their most important products. Thus the 101 meter-tall tower at BMW’s headquarters in Munich is intended to evoke the pistons of a four-cylinder engine. Adidas commissioned a similarly symbolic building: the footprint and facade of adidas LACES, completed in 2011, bring to mind a giant sneaker.

It is not unusual for renowned architects to be responsible for designing such buildings, with Foster + Partners, who have already provided several firms with an accomplished architectural presence, leading the way. Last year saw the completion of their crescent-shaped skyscraper The Bow for the Canadian energy company EnCana.

Their next major project, Apple’s new headquarters in Silicon Valley, is already in the starting blocks – a ring-shaped campus 230 meters in diameter reminiscent of a futuristic spaceship. 


  The Bow                                                                     
More information: The Bow (Emporis)
Architect: Foster + Partners
Serves as the corporate HQ of the Canadian petroleum and gas producer EnCana.
The building was named The Bow for the unbeatable view it provides of the Bow River.
A particularly eye-catching aspect of the building is its crescent-shaped steel-framed structure.


  BMW Building                                                            
More information: BMW Building (Emporis)
Architect: Karl Schwanzer
The BMW Building is the central administration building of the internationally-renowned automobile manufacturer BMW.
The building’s four linked tubes are consciously intended to evoke associations with four-cylinder engines; indeed, the building also has the German nickname “Vierzylinder” (“four-cylinder” in English).
Its unusual design made the building subject of much discussion in the international architecture community on its completion in 1973.


  BMW Welt                                                                   
More information: BMW Welt (Emporis)
Architect: Coop Himmelb(l)au
BMW Welt (“Welt” means “world” in English) is an elaborate event location for handing over new cars, and is situated in direct proximity to the BMW Building and the automobile factory.
The building, with its distinctive double cone, was designed by the renowned architects Coop Himmelb(l)au.


  The Lloyd’s Building                                               
More information: The Lloyd’s Building (Emporis)
Architect: Richard Rogers Partnership
The internationally-known insurers Lloyd’s of London are headquartered in the building.
Construction of the famous Lloyd’s Building took eight years and used 33,510 m³ of concrete, 30,000 m² of stainless steel cladding and 12,000 m² of glass.
As some of the staircases and elevators were placed on the outside of the building, visible to all, it is also known as the “Inside-Out Building”.


  Hearst Tower                                                             
More information: Hearst Tower (Emporis)
Architect: Foster + Partners
An office building, Hearst Tower is home to the Hearst Corporation, from which it takes its name.
It was the first office building in New York to receive LEED Gold Rating, using substantially less energy than an average office building of its size.
Hearst Tower claimed 1st Place in the 2006 Emporis Skyscraper Award.


More information: Gazprom (Emporis)
Architect: Tekeli & Sisa
Headquarters of Gazprom, the world’s largest natural gas producer.
The company is already planning a new skyscraper in St. Petersburg, to be shaped like a gas flame. At 460 meters, it would be Europe’s tallest building.


  Tour CMA CGM                                                         
More information: Tour CMA CGM (Emporis)
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Tour CMA CGM was awarded 3rd Place in the 2010 Emporis Skyscraper Award.
The distinguished architect Zaha Hadid designed the building, which is intended to evoke a ship’s sail, for the French shipping group CMA CGM.


  Aldar Headquarters                                                  
More information: Aldar Headquarters (Emporis)
Architect: MZ Architects
Aldar Headquarters is the first upright circle-shaped building in the Middle East. The eye-catching shape reinforces the leading position of its occupier, the property, management and investment company Aldar Properties.
The building forms the heart of Al Raha Beach, a new city on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.


  Bank of China Tower                                              
More information: Bank of China (Emporis)
Architects: I.M. Pei & Partners, Sherman Kung & Associates Architects Limited
The tower houses the headquarters of the Bank of China Hong Kong.
With its shape composed of triangles and its sparkling surfaces, the Bank of China Tower is reminiscent of a gigantic crystal
The building was the first outside the USA to break the 1,000-foot mark.


  Riviera TwinStar Square                                        
More information: Riviera TwinStar Square (Emporis)
Architect: Arquitectonia
The two towers of Riviera TwinStar Square are home to two separate banks, the Agricultural Bank of China and the China Construction Bank.
The towers stand both apart from and at the same time inclined toward one another, thus symbolizing contrast and harmony.


  Jong-ro Tower                                                          
More information: Jong-ro Tower (Emporis)
Architects: Rafael Viñoly Architects, Samoo Architects & Engineers
The building is owned by the Korean investment company Samsung Securities.
The top of Jong-ro Tower houses a restaurant that offers diners a spectacular view of Seoul.
Due to its futuristic design, the building is one of the most significant in Seoul.


  ING House                                                                  
More information: ING House (Emporis)
Architect: Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten
ING House is headquarters of the global financial services provider ING Group.
Due to its unusual shape, the building also has the nicknames “shoe” and “dustbuster”.
The body of ING House is supported by 16 steel legs.


  Petronas Towers                                                      
More information: Petronas Towers (Emporis)
Architect: César Antonio Pelli
The twin towers were commissioned by the petroleum conglomerate Petronas.
A skybridge, open to the public, connects the two towers at 170 meters’ height.
The footprint of each of the Petronas Towers is in the shape of an eight-sided star, a form taken from Islamic architecture.


  General Motors Renaissance Center                  
More information: General Motors Renaissance Center (Emporis)
Architects: Skidmore, Owings And Merrill LLP, John Portman & Associates
The General Motors Renaissance Center consists of five separate towers, four of which are used by General Motors as their headquarters.
The central tower houses a Marriott hotel with a high-class revolving restaurant, the “Coach Insignia”, on the penthouse floor.


  Torre Mare Nostrum                                                
More information: Torre Mare Nostrum (Emporis)
Architect: Enric Miralles – Benedetta Tagliabue/EMBT
Torre Mare Nostrum was built on the site of a former gasworks. It serves as the headquarters of the multinational gasNatural fenosa.
The building is located on Barcelona’s Barceloneta peninsula. The glass facade is intended to be a reflection of this location.
Two protruding blocks near ground level form part of Torre Mare Nostrum and give the building an innovative look.


  adidas LACES                                                           
More information: adidas LACES (Emporis)
Architect: kadawittfeldarchitektur
adidas LACES is part of the “World of Sports” corporate headquarters of the German sports goods manufacturer adidas.
The building has a floor area of 61,900 m², the rough equivalent of eight soccer pitches.
The structure’s footprint is reminiscent of a sports sneaker and the bridges connecting the departments inside the building symbolize its laces.


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