Bloomberg's new European headquarter's has won the Riba Stirling prize for architecture. The building is located in the heart of the city of London and has been awarded the prize for the most environmentally friendly office building in London. Occupying a full city block, the 3.2-acre site comprises two buildings united by bridges that span over a pedestrian arcade that reinstates Watling Street, an ancient Roman road that ran through the site.
The main entrance to Bloomberg is defined by a substantial porte-cochère, where the building forms two sides of a new formal city square. Arriving at the main entrance, individuals pass through the reception lobby before being drawn into the Vortex – a dramatic double-height space created by three inclined, curving timber shells. Beside the vortex are fully-glazed lifts with a unique concealed mechanism – another innovation developed specifically for the building.
Achieving a 98.5% ‘outstanding’ BREEAM rating, Bloomberg’s new European headquarters is regarded as one of the most sustainable commercial office buildings in Europe. The building is the first in the UK to feature integrated ceiling panels which control lighting, temperature and acoustics.
The result of a specialist software modelling system- CFD-computational Fluid Dynamics, the building is incorporated with a ceiling designed as a series of metallic petals. A design not only chosen for its stylish aesthetic, the panels manage acoustic reverberation across the open plan offices, optimizing airflow while also improving heat exchange within the building. Consequently, the design exceeds category A thermal comfort, the highest level that can be achieved within an office space. In addition, the shape of the petals maximizes the amount of light that floods through space, reducing the amount of energy required to run the building.
Another sustainable element of the building’s design is its use of LED lights instead of incandescent bulbs, which use 40% less energy. The ceiling is cooled throughout the working day, which increases the bulbs’ life expectancy. This cumulative effect is an efficient design strategy in the development of the project, and as a result, the building consumes significantly less energy than a typical office environment.
The building’s façade is defined by a structural sandstone frame, with a series of large-scale bronze fins that shade the floor-to-ceiling glazing. The fins give the building a visual hierarchy and rhythm as they vary in scale, and density across each façade according to orientation and solar exposure, and are an integral part of the building’s natural ventilation system.
The new Bloomberg building also returns the archaeological remains of the Roman Temple of Mithras to the site of their original discovery, with a new interpretation centre and cultural hub designed to give visitors an immersive experience of the temple and bring the history of the site to life.
Central to Bloomberg’s ethos, the double-height ‘pantry’ on the sixth floor is the heart of the building, reflecting the importance of sharing and collaboration at the company. Everyone passes through this animated space, increasing the likelihood of chance meetings and informal discussions.
A distinctive hypotrochoid stepped ramp, characterised by its smooth continuous three-dimensional loop, flows through the full height of the building, adding to the drama of the space. Clad in bronze, the ramp is designed and proportioned as a place of meeting and connection, allowing people to hold brief impromptu conversations with colleagues, whilst not impeding the flow of people.