Once the most modern office building in South East Asia
State of the art building
When Standard Chartered’s new Burma headquarters were opened in 1941, this was considered the most modern building in South East Asia. No costs were spared with a pagoda inspired entrance tower, state-of-the-art vaults and the first underground parking lot. But, just a year after completion the Japanese marched into Yangon and the staff had to abandon the building and hastily ship records, securities and other valuables to India.
World’s first global bank
It is now the Myanmar Economic Bank - which means that you can just walk in and have a look – but locals still affectionately call it Chartered Building. In the first half of the 20th century, Stan Chart was the world’s first truly global bank with offices from Zimbabwe to the Philippines and business was booming.
Nice to know
Architect Douglas Smart was a partner at Palmer & Turner, a Hong Kong firm that was (and still is) responsible for many prominent buildings in Asia, among which the original iconic Hong Kong Club and Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank buildings in Hong Kong (now both demolished) and the legendary Peace Hotel on the Bund in Shanghai.