BBVA headquarters by Herzog & de Meuron



Architects Herzog & de Meuron have designed a new headquarters for Spanish banking group BBVA.


The building, due for completion in 2013, will be located on the outskirts of Madrid.


Here is an architectural statement from the architects:


New Headquarters for BBVA
Madrid, Spain
2007 –, planned completion 2013

Herzog & de Meuron
Architectural Statement


The site BBVA has procured for its new headquarters is located on the periphery of Madrid. It is surrounded by streets of newly erected offices, commercial buildings, and residential developments. It is a “site without qualities”, a desert-like place. 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.


A linear structure composed of three-story buildings, alleyways and irrigated gardens is laid over the entire site like a carpet that follows the topography. Analogous to an Arabian garden, a cool, moist, fresh microclimate is created. Each workspace has a “green view”. The layout, with its horizontal branches, is more appropriate to today’s working world than open-plan offices, in which an employee feels like a number.


The complex encourages communication: people walk instead of taking elevators; they meet and talk to one another. A large degree of transparency generates a sense of community, while the relatively small units permit employees to identify with their particular group. Four existing buildings are integrated in the overall low-rise complex. Linear courtyards cut into the building mass link their structure with the new buildings.


In order to make the BBVA stand out in the skyline of the capital, the carpet is cut out in an approximate circle and tilted upwards: the result is a plaza and a slender, disk-shaped tower.

Plaza and Tower anchor the complex and provide orientation. The main entrance and various communal facilities form an interconnected ring around the plaza. The Tower, containing offices with views across the city and the Sierra of Madrid, contributes to the diversity of the workspaces.

The Plaza is planted with trees that provide generous shade, a large water basin humidifies the air and serves as a reservoir. Between the buildings, the gardens and alleyways echo the linear principle. Different trees and vegetation of varying densities distinguish the areas, so that they each retain their individual character within the overall context of the Carpet.

The Natural Resources
The design is adapted to the climatic conditions and makes efficient use of energy resources by providing ample natural daylight, while the gardens and alleyways are fully shaded in the summer months. Overhanging floorplates and a brise-soleil structure keep direct sunlight away from the workspaces. This minimizes the need for artificial lighting and air conditioning, which account for the greatest energy consumption in office buildings.

Ventilation is only needed to ensure the circulation of fresh air in the office spaces—windows can be opened to provide cross ventilation. Retractable elements in the roof help to control the temperature of the gardens.

The water that regulates the temperature of the floor slabs is geothermally cooled or warmed. Photovoltaic cells on the roofs as well as rain and grey water processing complete the overall sustainability concept.

Posted on Wednesday December 17th 2008 at 9:49 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Looks intresting, applicable to desert architecture?

  • Volantt
  • Post

    a bank builds such a huge new headquarter these days? i don’t think so …

    • Alvaro

      yeah, banks are OK in Spain

  • Mowgli

    Wow, now this is a beauty…

  • Jovanny

    It is OK in Spain.But i am thinking the other question:maybe it is not a fantastic job.

  • Ben

    Even H&M fell for the “Dubai-like” iconographic rendering … too bad … I always had much respect for them though …

  • Matt

    oh no, please, tell me it’s a nightmare, not THEM publishing THIS

  • OLGV.

    having an office building on horizontal not only vertical seems interesting to me… only that I don’t know if they thought about it in this manner.

  • alan

    the architectural statement sounds like it has come from OMA.. convergence?

    • Luke

      not only the statement but the architectural manifestation as well, specifically the form

  • Jer

    I would be interested to know how the experience of walking down those thin alleyways contributes to the whole. I’m concerned when an architect ‘neighborhood builds’ with such a repetitive/overly-consistent system.

  • kc

    hard to tell whether this is any good since so much of the strength of their designs comes from the materiality and details which you can’t really see from these pics. the relationship between the cut-out standing structure and its void looks interesting but other than that I’m not really impressed at all

  • remmie

    sorry.. but this is a direct rip off of oma’s Parc de la Villette entry !

  • …after the sun proposed by Mansilla and Tuñon….now comes….the moon??!?!


  • S.m.a.r.t.

    OMA + OMA

  • Frank

    Eloquent proof, that despite a global economic depression,Spain and especially Madrid, remain at the vanguard of European architecture.

  • Alessandro

    Madrid has transformed itself into the modern city of Europe and with great
    success.Excellent infrastructure and clean,well-designed spaces.Bravo Madrid!

  • ldogge

    i need to see something other than the god’s-eye perspective…

  • joee

    see mansilla+tuñon in Spain

  • Matt

    oh thanks remmie, H&dM don’t have any architectural culture and might never have notice
    either you’re wrong either it’s on purpose

  • Spain

    The Badminton monument,

  • sc hu yl er

    I think commenter KC hit the nail on the head…

  • Spain

    Turron and Mansilla never more play to architecture, now drinking you medicine

  • metacitizen

    this project makes me feel sad

  • Jeff

    Looks like a canned ham sitting in a dish drainer, I think Herzog & de Meuron along with Rem Koolhass, and Jean Nouvel, are way over rated and for their supposed talent, design some ugly hideous crap


  • tuñon

    it looks very similar to our project….

  • simões

    Each one tunon?
    Please post the link.

  • madrid

    How sad to attempt to build a “vibrant city” on the edge of a highway with no connection to the vibrancy that is the center of Madrid itself. For all its alleged environmental friendliness, this is just another contributor to Madrid sprawl. Like any other non-descript office park in the suburban United States. When employees have to drive to work or commute over an hour via subway or busses, all hope for spontaneous social interaction with colleagues after working hours is lost.

  • Azm

    Almost similar at the one being built at abudhabi!!

  • Marcel

    I don’t understand this building. All the famous architects can build whatever they want, even the most boring projects.

  • one

    Actually I think this s a bad joke.

  • Cesar Castro

    They didn’t resist the idea of building an “icon”. I truly miss when they had a fresher approach to the architecture. Seems they’re screaming their presence!!

  • Alessandro

    In 20 years this will be downtown Madrid.Remember that until 1900,there
    were only farms above 59th street in Manhattan! This is an excellent example of urban planning and superb architecture.Slowly,Madrid is connecting the dots,wait and see.

  • Carolina Casterella

    It looks to me like some of the designs of Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa from the mid 90’s, anybody else sees the similarities?
    It looks nice thought… but I have to say that the placement on the context is totally arbitrary (not good- specially in a city like Madrid with so much history)

    So much is about the “show-biz” nowadays….

  • 夜绮神木子

    the coin shaped building is kiling the horizontal architecture !

  • Richie

    I think more information is needed about this project to see whether it will be successful or not.. the birds’ eye context renders and massing plans only show so much.

  • Abdullah

    It beautiful and similar to AL DAr headquarter in Abu Dhabi – UAE

  • Silvia Perea

    Does the swiss couple know what will be erected not faraway, in between the towers that they show in one of their 3d views?

  • It definetely looks similar to Mansilla’s & Tuñon’s project…

  • Dear Suisse Architectes.
    “Pile ou Face”…in other words.
    The coin has not flipped over yet for this Bank project.
    Will it be built or not ..With the current Spanish economy
    I think no Bank wants to brag.
    This has a first feel of a giant parking lot with a billboard
    with an oversize Doughnut .
    Anal. What a waist of space , time and money..if they still have it.

  • truthnbeauty

    An awfully high ratio of exterior wall to floor area creating high heat loss/gain for a project touting energy efficiency. I appreciate the workplace environment and natural light, but this appears to be an unwise compromise.