KfW Westarkade building, Frankfurt

Shrouded in shades of many colors, it is a building that claims to be green. And so it is. It is not often that a midsize bank building has good reason to make that claim, but the new 400,000-square-foot, $85 million expansion of the headquarters for the KfW Bank in Frankfurt, designed by Sauerbruch Hutton Architects of Berlin, does. If it performs as intended, the building will consume about 7 kWh (24,000 Btu) per square foot per year, making it one of the world's most energy-efficient office towers.

KfW, an abbreviation for Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, or Credit Buro for Reconstruction, was founded in 1948, largely with money from the post-World War II European Recovery Program, also known as the Marshall Plan. Today, it is owned by the German government and is one of the 10 largest banks in the country, employing 3,500 people.

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