Bloomberg’s European HQ in London has won the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize for Best New Building. Billed as the world’s most sustainable office, the project was unanimously chosen as the 23rd recipient of the famous award.
Designed by Foster + Partners, the £1.3 billion project beat competition including the new Tate St Ives building and Bushey Cemetery. This is the third time Norman Foster’s practice has won the Stirling Prize; no other architects have won the accolade as many times. Foster + Partners last won in 2004 with the Gherkin.
Bloomberg, London has been described as the world’s most sustainable office by building environmental experts. It is the largest stone building in the City of London since St Paul’s Cathedral. The project consists of two buildings connected by a bridge, thereby forming a new public arcade which re-establishes an ancient Roman Road.
The building houses 4,000 staff, across 1.1 million square feet of office space and each open-plan workspace includes ‘petals’ on the ceiling (totalling 2.5 million over the whole building) which regulate acoustics, temperature and light. The Integrated Ceiling Panels (ICPs) are purposefully shaped like petals to maximise heat exchange, optimise airflow and minimise the amount of light being blocked. Michael Jones of Foster + Partners said that “without the ceiling, the sustainability wouldn’t be what it is”.
These features and many others mean the building should use 70% less water and 40% less energy than a typical office block. Michael Bloomberg, CEO of the giant financial, software, data and media company, is a famous environmentalist, believing businesses have a huge role to play in curbing climate change and saving the planet.
He said of the building: “Many companies of our size would have opted for a glass skyscraper, but we place value on being good neighbours. We are conscious of the fact we are guests in London”.
Clad in over 9,000 tonnes of sandstone, the exterior features bronze ventilation fins, which open and close automatically in order to ventilate the building as well as soften traffic running between Bank and Mansion House along Queen Victoria Street. Inside, the entrance includes the Vortex, an enormous artwork comprising of three curved timber shells as well as a 210m ‘ramp’ which is designed to encourage chance interactions by being wide enough for impromptu conversation to take place without impeding the flow of people walking through.
Ben Derbyshire, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, said: “Bloomberg’s new European HQ is a monumental achievement. The creativity and tenacity of Foster + Partners and the patronage of Bloomberg have not just raised the bar for office design and city planning, but smashed the ceiling.”