Another RIBA awards cycle has come to a close! This evening at The Roundhouse in London, RIBA just announced the Bloomberg London headquarters by Foster + Partners as the 2018 Stirling Prize winner for the UK's Best New Building. The jury — which David Adjaye led — selected the building from a shortlist of six projects.
“After vigorous debate, the jury reached a unanimous decision — Bloomberg’s new European HQ is a monumental achievement,” said RIBA President Ben Derbyshire in a statement. “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. This building is a profound expression of confidence in British architecture — and perfectly illustrates why the UK is the profession’s global capital. This role and reputation must be maintained, despite the political uncertainty of Brexit.”
Read on for more about the winning project.
“Bloomberg’s pioneering new European HQ has been credited as the world’s most sustainable office and is thought to be the largest stone building in the City of London since St Paul’s Cathedral. With a restrained exterior and dynamic interior to encourage collaboration, Bloomberg is comprised of two buildings connected by a bridge.
Each of the buildings sit either side of a new public arcade, which re-establishes an ancient Roman road. This complex scheme also incorporates new access to Bank Underground station, cafes and restaurants, and a museum displaying the Roman Temple of Mithras, which was discovered on the site sixty years ago.”
“Given its vast footprint (a whole city block), the client, Michael Bloomberg wanted to ensure the building would be a ‘good neighbor’. Three new public spaces open-up this area of the city and the sensitive, handcrafted sandstone exterior and bronze window ‘fin’ details ensure the building sits comfortably within its surroundings.”
“The procession through the building is dynamic and highly choreographed. On arrival, you enter the ‘Vortex’, a dramatic double-height art work formed from three curved timber shells. From here, high-speed lifts carry you directly to the sixth floor ‘Pantry’, a large concourse and café space with views across the city.”
“A 210m high bronze ‘ramp’ — wide enough for impromptu conversations without impeding the flow of people — winds down and links the office floors below. Workspaces are clustered in the wide open-plan floors, which are filled with pioneering new technologies including multi-function ceilings fitted with 2.5 million polished aluminum ‘petals’ to regulate acoustics, temperature and light.”
“From our first discussions to the final details of the project, Mike Bloomberg and I had a ‘meeting of minds’ on every aspect of the project — its sustainable focus, commitment to innovation and drive to create the best workplace for Bloomberg employees. The RIBA Stirling Prize is a testament to the incredible collaborative spirit that has underpinned the entire project from start to finish,” says Norman Foster, of Foster + Partners.
“The design brief called for a building which could rise-up to the challenge of this loaded site and an information-driven environment,” the Stirling Prize jury commented. “The architect worked exhaustively and collaboratively to design a building which perfectly responds to Bloomberg’s ambitions. By building at a lower height than approved at planning, reserving parts of the site for public space, and using highly-detailed, handcrafted materials, Bloomberg shows a high level of generosity towards the city.”
“The design process involved unprecedented levels of research, innovation and experimentation, with pioneering new details and techniques tested, prototyped – sometimes at 1:1 scale – and rigorously improved. The real success though is in the experience for staff, visitors or passers-by – how Bloomberg has opened up new spaces to sit and breathe in the city; the visceral impact of the roof-top view across to St. Paul’s from the concourse space, the energy of descending the helix ramp or settling into a desk in one of the dynamic new workspaces,” the jury continued.
In recent years, the coveted Stirling Prize has gone to drMM's redesign of Hastings Pier, Damien Hirst's Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John, the Burntwood School by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Haworth Tompkins' Everyman Theatre, and the Astley Castle by Witherford Watson Mann Architects.
Check out a video of the Bloomberg London HQ below.
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