Bloomberg’s European headquarters, designed by Foster + Partners, has won the 2018 Stirling Prize, meaning it’s “the UK’s best new building” according to RIBA judges.
The judges were unanimous in their decision to award the media giant’s HQ in the City of London the prize, calling it a “once-in-a-generation project”. RIBA president Ben Derbyshire described it as a “monumental achievement”.
Thought to be the largest stone building constructed in the City of London since St Paul’s Cathedral, the RIBA said this was a “state-of-the-art project which has pushed the boundaries of research and innovation in architecture”.
Derbyshire said that the building has “not just raised the bar for office design and city planning, but smashed the ceiling.” The project achieved BREEAM Outstanding with a rating of 98.5 per cent, making it the world’s most sustainable office building.
The 1.1 million sq ft scheme comprises two buildings connected by a bridge, either side of newly created public arcade, and providing a workplace for 4,000 staff. Although Foster + Partners had permission to design a building over double the height, Bloomberg sits at a modest 10 stories, “seeking to create a dialogue with the City that surrounds it”.
It incorporates new access to Bank Underground station, cafes and restaurants, and a museum displaying the Roman Temple of Mithras. Bloomberg contrasts a restrained, sensitive and elegant exterior with a dynamic, open-plan interior to “encourage and facilitate the global financial information company’s collaborative way of working”.
Instead of a large central core formed of lifts and staircases, services are pushed to the edge with the staff at the core. Key design features include the ‘Vortex’ – a dramatic double-height space created by three curved timber shells, the ‘Pantry’ – a large concourse and café space with views across the City, and a 210 metre high bronze ‘ramp’ linking open-plan office floors. Pioneering technologies include multi-function ceilings fitted with 2.5 million polished aluminium ‘petals’ to regulate acoustics, temperature and light.
Fosters also developed innovative power, lighting, water and ventilation systems to utilise waste products, respond to the building’s external environment and adapt to occupancy patterns.
RIBA concluded: “This ground-breaking project demonstrates what is possible through close collaboration between highly-skilled, imaginative architects and a sophisticated, civic-minded client.”