The Leader Magazine

SEP 2018

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36 September 2018 the leader F E A T U R E A R T I C L E H istorically, bank buildings were fundamental symbols of power and stability. The grand palaces of the great European banking families of the 15th century, such as the Medicis and Strozzis, are a lasting testament to the physical embodiment of wealth in architecture. Indeed, until recently, the design of a typical bank head-office (headquarters, or HQ) facility still expressed the virtues of permanence, solidity and security, communicated through classical, conservative references. In an old-world environment based predominantly on the exchange of cash, this approach offered a straightforward logic in providing a safe, physical repository for cash and other valuables. In the 1980s and 1990s, classical architectural references began to be replaced by more global approaches that sought to express the modern building materials of steel and glass. Examples include the NatWest tower in London, HSBC in Hong Kong, and Commerzbank in Frankfurt. In these cases, a tall and striking head-office presence served to provide a powerful communication of corporate strength and success in keeping with the values of a global brand. by Richard Hutchinson

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