At the turn of the 20th Century the Bank of Communications was an instrumental player and pioneer in the reform of China’s financial system. In recent years with the rapid growth of the Bank of Communications branch buildings have emerged throughout China, racing to become the local image of each city.
The fundamental challenge a bank building faces is that it has two responsibilities it must tend to simultaneously. The two functions it must serve however are at direct odds with one another. On the one hand a bank building must look safe, eternal, impenetrable, and secure. On the other hand, banks exist to serve people and consequently must be open and inviting.
As in nature, an apple’s skin protects its valuable inside contents, this becoming the metaphor of a bank and what it houses. The exterior skin along the outer edge of the building is constructed of a highly articulated Stone wall with modulated stone fins acting like that of an apple’s skin, protective. This Stone and Glass skin represents the security of the bank. A slice of the apple being removed creates the L-shaped plan which is represented by the delicate transparent curtain wall of glass which symbolizes the open and welcome nature of the bank. These two exterior wall systems represent the two opposing forces of a bank; it must be “secure and vaulted” while simultaneously “open and welcome”.