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Arts and culture 06 Jul 2009

BBVA reinforces commitment to Mexican market, unveiling new BBVA Bancomer headquarters

BBVA Bancomer today unveiled the winning architectural projects for its two new buildings in Mexico City: the BBVA Bancomer Tower and the BBVA Bancomer Operating Center. Architectural firms Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Legorreta + Legorreta will work together to design the BBVA Bancomer Tower, while Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) will pen the BBVA Bancomer operating Center design.

The ceremony, held at the Bankers’ Club in Mexico City, was attended by BBVA Chairman and CEO, Francisco González, the head of the local Mexican City government, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon and the President and General Manager of BBVA Bancomer, Ignacio Deschamps.

The BBVA Bancomer Tower will be located on a site spanning 6,600m2 at the corner of Paseo de la Reforma and Calle Lieja, in the Juárez district of Mexico City. It will soar 225 meters high over 50 floors. When fully completed in 2012, the tower will accommodate around 4,500 employees.

The BBVA Bancomer Operating Center is to be built in the Parques Polanco complex on Avenida Mariano Escobedo at Laguna de Mayrán, on a site stretching 13,400m2. The building will be 137 meters high, with 32 floors. Its construction is also slated for completion in 2012 and will similarly house some 4,500 people.

The two new BBVA Bancomer buildings in Mexico City form part of a property streamlining project initiated last year with the sale of 108,000m2 of land divided across four buildings: The Bancomer Center and its car park (Av. Universidad No. 1200), the Platino Tower (Insurgentes Sur No. 1811) and Liverpool No. 88.

Investment

Construction of these two new buildings will entail investment of some $900 million and will create 14,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Francisco González, Chairman and CEO of BBVA, underscored that the construction of new buildings for BBVA Bancomer is a sign of the financial group’s firm commitment to Mexico: “The architectural projects we are unveiling today dovetail perfectly with our strategy, predicated on principles, people and innovation, and reflect the Group’s distinguishing values. We are convinced that both will become landmark buildings in Mexico City“. He added that investment in these two buildings would bring the total invested by the Spanish Group in Mexico since 1995 to over $8.3 billion.

In his speech, Ignacio Deschamps, President and General Manager of BBVA Bancomer, was adamant that “the architectural design of our new buildings will marry national and international talent, seeking above all harmony with their surroundings and higher quality of living standards for everyone working at the Group. These buildings will also enable us to provide our customers will better service standards“.

Deschamps defined the BBVA Bancomer Tower as a “Mexican and universal building” and the BBVA Bancomer Operating Center as a “beautiful building built to the highest efficiency standards”. He added that this investment by BBVA Bancomer, in the midst of an economic crisis, is undoubtedly a positive development for Mexico City and the country as a whole.

Architecture

BBVA Bancomer’s new head offices will be built to the highest construction specs. The use of modern technologies and interior design approaches will make for highly flexible work spaces and stations as well as reducing maintenance costs.

Last year BBVA Bancomer launched an International Tender of Architectural Ideas. In addition to the winners, several other highly-regarded Mexican and international firms took part, all with experience designing properties for large corporations and all committed to the principles of financial, energy and environmental efficiency.

A multi-disciplinary team from the BBVA Group, together with internationally recognized outside specialists, spent 8 months assessing 77 factors, including technical, design, timing and cost factors. The winning firms are those that, in the opinion of the team and the specialists, are best positioned to bring to both projects the architectural features that best represent the values inherent in BBVA’s corporate culture that the Group wants its new head offices to depict physically:

– Building efficiency

– Sustainable development

– Application of emerging trends in technology

– Buildings with low maintenance costs

– Development of the city

– And, above all, a firm commitment to the quality of life of its employees

bbva bancomer operating center in the parques polanco complex designed by legorreta + legorreta

Employee benefits

The site selection for both properties took into consideration the need for easy access via public transport. The vast majority of employees will see their commutes to the new offices reduced as they are located more centrally. In addition, the two buildings are near each other (1.8 kilometers), also unlocking synergies and thereby increasing time efficiency.

The new BBVA Bancomer headquarters will be an important tool for fostering the Group’s corporate culture and promoting innovative work methods using spaces conceived of for social interaction, facilitating communication and boosting teamwork.

Operating efficiency and environmental commitment

One of BBVA Bancomer’s targets is to encourage energy efficiency at its buildings through sustainable construction. To this end, the goal is for both projects to meet the requirements for obtaining LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the US Green Building standard.

The financial institution estimates that its new buildings will lead to significant savings, such as:

– 25% on energy,

– 30% – 50% of water

The BBVA Bancomer Tower designers

Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta designed the Hotel Camino Real (in collaboration with Luis Barragán), the Hotel Westin Brisas in Ixtapa, the Contemporary Art Museum in Monterrey, the National Center for the Arts in Mexico City, the Televisa head offices in the Santa Fe district, also in Mexico City, among other legendary buildings in Mexico and abroad. His son Victor joined the practice in the early 1990s, giving rise to Legorreta + Legorreta in 2000.

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (formerly known as the Richard Rogers Partnership) is the firm founded and run by renowned British architect, Richard Rogers, who designed the Georges Pompidou Center (in collaboration with Renzo Piano) the Lloyd’s and Leadenhall buildings in London, the Millennium Dome, also in the UK capital, Terminal 4 at Barajas airport in Madrid and Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport in London, among many, many others throughout an architectural career dating back over three decades.

In his speech during the ceremony, Lennard Grut, a partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, conveyed a message from the firm’s current president, Richard Rogers, who was unable to attend for health reasons: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with BBVA Bancomer on this important project in Mexico City and to be able to collaborate with Legorreta + Legorreta, one of the world’s leading architectural firms”.

He explained that thanks to its magnificent location, the tower would serve as a beacon, creating a link between the Chapultepec Woods and the Paseo de la Reforma. The building’s highly innovative design includes a facade inspired by Mexican architectural heritage, reinterpreting the unique texture of traditional latticework.”

The BBVA Bancomer Operating Center architects

Gary Haney, partner at US architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), a partnership founded by Louis Skidmore, Nathaniel Owings and John Merrill in the 1930s, explained the design behind the Bancomer Operating Center.

SOM designed the Sears Tower in Chicago, the highest at the time, as well as the Burj Dubai skyscraper, which will be the tallest building in the world. Renowned for its glass structure skyscrapers, a style it pioneered, SOM has designed many architectural projects across the four corners of the globe and been honored with over 800 international architecture and design awards.

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