BREAKING: Stirling Prize Awarded to Foster + Partners’ Bloomberg European HQ

The London office, where 4,000 Bloomberg employees work, was lauded for its sustainable architecture, workplace design, and new public spaces.

2018 Stirling Prize Foster Partners Bloomberg HQ
The centerpiece of the building’s interior is a spiraling ramp spanning nearly 700 feet and six floors in a triple-helix formation. It is designed as a place of meeting and connection, intended to help people and information move seamlessly around the building. Courtesy Nigel Young

The 2018 Stirling Prize has been awarded to Foster + Partners for the firm’s Bloomberg Headquarters in London.

“For many companies our size, building a new headquarters would have meant opting for a glass skyscraper,” said Bloomberg C.E.O and former New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, at the building’s opening almost a year ago to date.

Instead of glass, Bloomberg got sandstone—and lots of it. That’s not to say the building doesn’t shirk urban vistas: the office’s sixth floor features a fantastic panorama of Christopher Wren’s St. Paul’s cathedral, London’s finest and largest stone building.

The Bloomberg HQ’s selling point, however, is its sustainable qualities. The building has received a rating of 98.5 percent by BREEAM (the U.K. equivalent of LEED), one of the designation’s highest scores ever awarded.

“Bloomberg is a once-in-a-generation project which has pushed the boundaries of research and innovation in architecture,” remarked David Adjaye, who chaired this RIBA Stirling Prize judging panel, in the announcement. “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.”

In the same announcement, firm founder Norman Foster stated that, “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.”

This is the third time Foster + Partners has won the Stirling Prize—for the Imperial War Museum, Duxford in 1988, and 30 St Mary Axe (best known as “the Gherkin”) in 2004.

2018 Stirling Prize Foster Partners Bloomberg HQ
The HQ’s stonework acts as thermal massing, absorbing energy from the sun’s rays during the day then slowly dissipating it at night. “We had to train masons to make the stone,” lead project architect Mike Jones said at a recent lecture when presenting the building. Courtesy Nigel Young

Foster + Partners’ design saw off competition from five other projects: Bushey Cemetery, Hertfordshire by Waugh Thistleton Architects; Chadwick Hall, University of Roehampton, London by Henley Halebrown; Tate St Ives, Cornwall by Jamie Fobert Architects with Evans & Shalev; Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery, Cambridge by MUMA; and The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester College, Oxford by Niall McLaughlin Architects.

“When we embarked on this project, we wanted to create a cutting-edge design that would push the boundaries of what an office building could be, which meant setting new standards for openness and sustainability,” remarked Bloomberg in the award announcement. “At the same time, we wanted to honor London’s history and contribute to its vitality. We knew that if we could achieve both objectives, we’d have a building that would inspire everyone who set foot inside it.”

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