World's most beautiful bank buildings

Story highlights

  • Bank of America Tower was officially the second-tallest building in New York until One World Trade Center topped out in May 2013
  • Bank of China Tower inspired by the shape of a bamboo stalk
  • Islamic Development Bank has narrow window slits to block sunlight while central patios are covered in glass to let in natural light

It should be no surprise that the world's financial behemoths also own or inhabit some of the best real estate.

With One World Trade Center officially being declared the highest building in the United States, and the iconic Midland Bank Building in London being turned into a hotel, building data company Emporis of Hamburg, Germany, has pulled together what it thinks are 12 of the most "spectacular" buildings in the banking industry.

"One of the most singular bank buildings is undoubtedly the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, the first building outside the United States to break the 1,000-foot mark and, even today, one of the world's tallest corporate headquarters," said an Emporis spokesperson.

Others in its list include the Macquarie Bank Centre in Sydney with a "sophisticated interior design ... [that] does entirely without loadbearing columns and provides light-flooded, colorful workspaces" and the Bank of America Tower in New York, which cost a billion dollars and is "one of the most eye-catching in this city."

Click to expand
EXPAND IMAGE

The report notes that even the recent financial crisis did not entirely kill banks' desires to build extravagantly.

"As recently as 2009, the Co-Op Bank, Cyprus, moved into an exclusive new designer building," the report says, also citing BBVA, Spain's second-largest bank, which is building a new headquarters with an immodest circular design by architects Herzog & de Meuron.

More: 10 of the world's 'blobbiest' buildings

More: 25 great skyscrapers -- icons of construction

More: 20 of the world's most beautiful UNESCO sites