The golden age of corporate HQs returns: Technology fortunes have triggered a resurgence in architectural grandiosity
Years ago, skyscrapers such as Rockefeller Center, Sears Tower and the Chrysler Building were testaments to the financial might of the iconic companies that helped build America. They reached high above their respective city centers, as if to embody both their financial superiority and limitless aspirations. It was not unusual for major corporate headquarters to also acquire exquisite collections of art to embellish the interior of those landmark buildings.
Then a long period of architectural and financial modesty ensued as ostentatious displays of wealth sent the wrong message to restive shareholders and customers. The era of empire building had ended, and architectural design was relegated to vapid rectangular boxes. Instead, we saw architectural splendor move abroad and express itself in Berlin, Dubai and Shanghai.
But times have finally changed in the United States with the meteoric rise of Information Age industries, and that appears to be re