Most Spectacular Building: The Bow, Calgary, Canada. Image Source: Fosters + Partners
Emporis, a globally renowned building and construction authority, assigned a panel of expert judges to compile (in no particular order), the prestigious list of 15 projects. The selection criteria required buildings to display “innovative design, visual impact and function of significant corporate architecture.”
Named after its location overlooking the Bow River, the building serves as staff headquarters to Canadian petroleum and gas producer Encana. The building is Foster+Partners’ largest project in North America. The building also secured first place in Azure’s Magazine’s Top Projects of 2012.
The Bow is an aerodynamic crescent shaped, steel-framed structure. It stands 236 metres tall with 59 floors of office, retail and green spaces.
Its curved design reduces the impact of wind and its southwest orientation absorbs maximum sunlight, adding to the sustainability of the external building façade.
The structure’s engineered diagonal and vertical steel frame and glass make it 30 per cent lighter than any other building of its size anywhere in the world, according to Emporis.
The Bow is one of the first attempts at a mixed-use building in Calgary and is designed for people in an urban office setting. High-speed elevators provide access to three sky gardens while the building features open plan workspace interiors and an “urban plaza” on the ground floor providing spaces to encourage staff communication and collaboration.
The design ensures that more than 70 per cent of employees will have a window view and windows on the atrium side of the building will have operable windows to facilitate natural airflow.
The Bow was designed to define 21st century commerce and successfully represents the economic might of its city.
In congratulating the design team behind the Bow on their list placement, developer Jack Matthews, CEO of Matthews Southwest, described the as “a new icon of that city’s growth and modern spirit, and we see it as an icon of what can be achieved in terms of mega-projects when the right team is brought to the table.”
BMW’s two Munich Buildings also made the elite building list including the BMW Building, which serves as the company’s headquarters and was completed in 1972 along with the BMW Welt Building, which was completed in 2007.
BMW’s headquarters, now a protected historic building was selected for its symbolic design with its four towers intended to represent the pistons for a four-cylinder engine, while the 19-metre tall futuristic architectural design of the BMW Welt building was also recognised. The latter building was celebrated for its unconventional and fluid structure while being environmentally responsible with the installation of a 824-kilowatt solar plant on its roof.
While all the buildings that made the “spectacular building” list displayed diversity, Emporis required one common calling card from each: that they are all – put simply – impressive.