Treasure Chest

architect Alberto Campo Baeza
project Bank Caja General de Ahorros, Granada, Spain
written by Raymund Ryan


Throughout modern history, the architecture of financial institutions has assumed various forms, of monumentality: the Neo-Classicism of Soane´s Bank of England; the medieval earnestness of Berlage’s Beurs in Amsterdam; a post-war Classical reprise with such towers as Gordon Bunshaft’s Chase Manhattan Bank; and then spectacular gadgetry from the Richard Rogers Partnership at Lloyd’s of London. In Granada, a city with remarkable historic legacy, Madrid-based Alberto Campo Baeza has recently completed the imposing headquarters of the Caja General de Ahorros, the local state savings bank. Viewed from the orbital motorway, the Caja establishes its immediate presence as a concrete anchor in a sea of suburbanization, an autonomous object but one alluding to both the Alhambra and Granada’s sixteenth-century cathedral.