It comes as no surprise that the judges awarded the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize to Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London, naming it UK’s best new building. To quote the president of Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Ben Derbyshire, the building is simply a monumental achievement of a project you’ll only encounter once in a lifetime.
Though it caused a bit of controversy amongst some critics, the RIBA award is the second honour bestowed upon the building this week, it has also been named ‘UK’s Best Workplace’ by the British Council for Offices (BCO).
Bloomberg’s European HQ beat the Tate St Ives gallery in Cornwall and a number of other amazing buildings to the award, and has been described as being the largest stone building since St Paul’s Cathedral was erected.
What does it look like? - Two buildings, either side of a new public arcade, are connected by a bridge, and the design also includes a brand-new entry point to Bank Underground station, as well as access to food outlets, restaurants, and a museum displaying the Roman Temple of Mithras.
Instead of the usual office layout of a large central space formed of lifts and staircases, Bloomberg’s building moves people and places away from the core. Visitors go through the reception area before making their way to a huge space created by three curved timber shells, known as ‘The Vortex’. From here, super fast lifts carry people all the way to the sixth floor, where you'll find a large area for dining with stunning views across the city of London.
An enormous high ramp winds down and links the office floors below. Workspaces are grouped in the vast open-plan floors, equipped with the latest new technologies, including up to the minute office furniture, ceilings fitted with 2.5 million aluminium ‘petals’ to manage acoustics, temperature and light.
Though it is not to everyone’s taste, as architecture often is, this project shows what is possible through a close relationship between imaginative architects and progressive clients.
Bloomberg is a tribute to architecture and the desire to achieve functional, innovative and visionary beauty, even in the workplace, which often gets left behind when alot of focus is put into client facing areas such as breakout spaces and Wellbeing furniture solutions. They simply stated that they wanted to have a building which would just draw people to it, and they certainly achieve what they set out to do.