John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
These corporations might not have tons of fans in the environmental movement, but you wouldn't know that looking at their idealistic architecture choices.
Corporate behemoths are aware of the love/hate feelings nurtured by many of their customers. Perhaps that's why they spend so much money and effort building headquarters that are shining beacons of earth-friendly architecture. We're talking hundreds of acres of sloping, verdant hills, burbling streams and weeping willows, zig-zagging grass roofs and vertical, enclosed gardens. The public face of these petroleum giants is so green that William McDonough would do the Dougie with joy.
From the “mountain-water garden” aesthetic of the new Chevron HQ in Nanjing to the sprawling lawns of Exxon's campus in Houston, an exemplar of "high standards of energy efficiency and environmental stewardship," there's no trace of petro-stink on any of these buildings. You can see a few beautiful examples in the slideshow below. For fun, we've also tossed in the vegetation-festooned headquarters of Weyerhaeuser, a huge logging company based near Seattle, and the Belarusian Potash Company in Minsk (potash is a main ingredient in chemical fertilizers).
– Slideshow assembled by Mark Byrnes and John Metcalfe