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Oil Company Headquarters Make a Powerful Statement

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The Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, will be the new headquarters of Gazprom.CreditCreditAnton Vaganov\TASS, via Getty Images


Striking headquarters have long been synonymous with energy companies for canny, unabashedly capitalist reasons, said Marc Kushner, a partner at the architecture firm Hollwich Kushner. “Great architecture by great architects is a way to physically manifest success, because big buildings equal big profits in people’s minds,” he says, adding that their permanence is a swaggering statement more powerful than any advertisement.

Kyle May, a principal at the firm KM,A, said buildings like these were “an employee magnet and a giant PR stunt.” A splashy workplace with contemporary amenities is a compelling hiring tool, and they can also project an energy-efficient and environmentally sensitive image, May says.

The 75-story headquarters of Abu Dhabi’s national oil company, Adnoc, sits next to the 1970s building it replaced.CreditMohammed Al Janabi

Here are six showy complexes from around the world.

It was a sketch on a napkin by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia that reportedly inspired César Pelli’s design for this complex in Kuala Lumpur. The towers were constructed in the 1990s on the site of a former horse-racing track. The eight-point Muslim star Rub el Hizb underpins Pelli’s plan, the two towers narrowing as they rise to their full height of more than 1,480 feet. One tower is entirely for employees of the oil and gas company Petronas, while the other’s tenants include Reuters and the fictional International Clearance Bank, targeted by Catherine Zeta-Jones’ catwalk-clad thief in the 1999 film “Entrapment.”

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The three-year-old headquarters for Abu Dhabi’s national oil firm sits on the Corniche, on the city’s West Side, right next to the 1970s building it replaced. The soaring tower, which looks like a 75-story bottle opener, is a startling contrast with its forerunner. Architect HOK, which is steering the modernization of La Guardia Airport, engineered the building to handle the extreme heat of the emirate’s summer. Bethel White granite covers east and west facades, to protect the glass core; the north and south sides are fully glazed, although the latter, where the sun is most intense, features built-in shades that reduce heat within the building by deflecting sunlight.

Kohn Pedersen Fox designed this 970,000-square-foot building in Beijing for one of China’s two state-run oil firms. Other well-known KPF projects include MoMA’s extension and master planning the Hudson Yards complex on the West Side of Manhattan. In China, the KPF team intended for the softened triangular building to evoke the prow of an oil tanker, but critics quickly likened it to a tankless toilet, which Kohler was then marketing in the country. At least the red and yellow terra-cotta tiles on the facade and interior resonated as planned, in a nod to the colors of the nearby Forbidden City.


The headquarter of the Norwegian oil company Equinor, formerly Statoil, in Fornebu. The cantilevered structure was the result of an open competition where architects were tasked with creating a landmark that would play off the landscape of Norway’s fjords.CreditInts Kalnins/Reuters

This gleaming building is one of the anchors of the Amerika Square redevelopment in Copenhagen. Maersk hired a local firm, PLH Architects, for the project, and they produced a sleek, curved building with a proudly Danish aesthetic. The interiors are swathed in ash wood panels and flooded with natural light to connect with nature but minimize acoustics, while the central atrium features palm trees and leather chairs more like a Scandinavian coffee shop than a corporate headquarters.

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The soon-to-open new world headquarters for Gazprom looks like a spire over the low-slung skyline of St. Petersburg, Russia. The plans sparked such vocal local objection to the RMJM-designed, 1,516-foot skyscraper that it was moved from its original site across the Neva River to the northwestern edge of the city. Taking six years and an estimated 155 billion rubles ($2.37 billion) to build, the tower twists a full 90 degrees from top to bottom and anchors a new multiuse complex, which also includes a 2,000-seat amphitheater. It will open in 2019, and most of the tenants will be Gazprom employees, although tourists will be able to access an observation deck and restaurant 1,000 feet above the ground.

The local architecture firm A-lab earned countless accolades for the Equinor headquarters in Fornebu, Norway. The pile of aluminum-clad tubes look as much like a discarded, giant game of Jenga as a headquarters for the country’s national oil company. The cantilevered structure, just outside Oslo, was the result of an open competition where architects were tasked with creating a landmark that would play off the striking landscape of the fjords. The interiors are equally unconventional and Rube Goldberg-esque, with staircases seemingly sprouting from nowhere to connect the various wings, which intersect at a single, soaring atrium.

NY Times

23 Comments on "Oil Company Headquarters Make a Powerful Statement"

  1. makati1 on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 1:02 am 

    Where are the billion dollar, ultramodern HQs for American oil companies? Too broke to even buy the land? LOL

  2. Administrator on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 2:09 am 

    I have received complaints from posters unable to log comments. We are in the process of implementing an upgrade that will limit posts from serial offenders (ex., “Davy”). The beta version is experiencing errors. Please have patience while we work out the kinks.

    Thank you for your understanding.

  3. Admin on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 5:28 am 

    Disregard the above post. The above comment by the Administrator is not from our staff. We are working on the comment issue. This issue is related to our site design and has nothing to do with any member’s contributions.

  4. Adminator on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 8:52 am 

    Regarding the two above posts. Please ignore and we are in the process of restricting all posts that do not meet our high standards of intellectual integrity and honesty.
    This comment will be shutting down on October 29…

  5. Davy on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 9:35 am 

    our serial sock puppet should learn how to spell

  6. Adminator on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 12:17 pm 

    Davy Wavy…thank you that is the correct length of future posts…one brief sentence.

  7. Davy on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 12:30 pm 

    get a life puppeteer. You obviously have no brain or you would be able to say something intelligent.

  8. Adminator on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 12:46 pm 

    Oh, forgive me YOU are the Super Smart Smartie…WASTING God only knows days posting gibberish to foolish o!d farts that have nothing better to do…carry on…LOL

  9. Davy on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 12:52 pm 

    geeze, another comment barely legible. Try again dummy.

  10. Anonymouse1 on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 1:26 pm 

    Look everyone, a dumbass is being neutered.

  11. Davy on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 1:31 pm 

    The joke’s on you dumbass. Nobody can neuter me, cause I don’t have any balls, pussy.

  12. Adminator on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 1:34 pm 

    Boy Davy…if that’s barely legible you are friggin a dumasxhole…

  13. Anontarded1 on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 1:34 pm 

    guys you tards ease off supertard. enough attacking him already.
    in the words of supertard einstein:
    “if i’m wrong then one is enough”

  14. Anonymouse1 on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 1:36 pm 

    MOB. I take credit for the last one

  15. Davy on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 1:38 pm 

    A-noise1 I have been saying all along you are the serial puppeteer playing these stupid game. You need to be banned.

  16. Davy on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 1:44 pm 

    Thanks Anona-retarded1. I appreciate your unwavering support. Maybe we could hook up sometime? Please fire me off a PM.

  17. I AM THE MOB on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 1:47 pm 

    Anon, that was me. Beat you to it. We both hate Davy lol

  18. Davy on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 1:49 pm 

    Why don’t the two of you get a room, idiots and quit stealing my handle.

  19. Anonymouse1 on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 2:27 pm 

    You are Davy, I AM THE DAVYTURD, you stupid moron. No one here can help you, or provide free treatment for your multiple personality dis-order. Or the rest of your laundry list of mental disabilities and delusions either.

    It would be far better if ‘both’ of you, took a long vacation from here. Like, in a padded cell. That would be best.

    (And never come back).

  20. Davy on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 2:30 pm 

    translation: I am a stupid social media millennial stealing Davy’s handle and doing socks like Adminator.

    BAN anonymouse1 for life.

  21. Anontarded1 on Sun, 14th Oct 2018 2:33 pm 

    guys all this fakenews is strange, you masquerade as supertard to implicate me in gay relationship? good job. why don’t you speak of aswang you tards. he has multiple bf’s bffs. i told you i have many bfs without leaving america.


  22. Free Speech Forum on Mon, 15th Oct 2018 1:30 am 

    Americans say that they are not responsible for anything and they are victims. Americans feel that they are not to blame and every problem is not their fault. Americans insist that they are saints and everyone else is evil.

    Racists believe the police state only affects blacks and scream that the Jewish media is lying whenever a white person is arrested.

    How can Americans sleep at night now or look in a mirror without feeling utterly disgusted and ashamed?

  23. makati1 on Mon, 15th Oct 2018 2:40 am 

    Free, they are totally brainwashed 24/7/365. The few who are still rational and intelligent are leaving by the thousands every year.

    The Best definitions of “American” are:
    1. Hypocrite
    2. Delusional
    3. Snowflake
    4. Uneducated
    5. Tax Serf

    The national motto is: “Let someone else do it!”

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