RIBA Stirling Prize, London, United Kingdom

Thursday 11 Oct 2018
Credit: The Bloomberg Arcade viewed from Cannon Street. Credit_ Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Architects: Foster + Partners

The Bloomberg Building scoops the RIBA Stirling Prize

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has awarded the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize to Bloomberg, London by Foster + Partners

The prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize is awarded annually to the UK’s best new building and this year’s prize has gone to the Bloomberg building designed by Foster + Partners.

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 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 neighbour’. 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’ that is 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 aluminium ‘petals’ to regulate acoustics, temperature and light. 

Speaking about Bloomberg, RIBA President Ben Derbyshire, said: ‘After vigorous debate, the jury reached a unanimous decision - 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. 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.’

Commenting Lord Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners, said:

‘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.’

Michael Jones, Senior Partner and Lead Architect, Foster + Partners went to say:

‘Behind every good building is a great client and Bloomberg is a testament to what is possible when the visions of client and architect align. We were continually supported and inspired by Mike Bloomberg and his team, who shared our values on innovation, sustainability and wellbeing to develop a pioneering new workplace for the future. We are delighted that Bloomberg has been awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize, as recognition of not only this special partnership, but also the immense collaboration by the entire team that underpinned and delivered the project.’

Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies, said:

‘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. At the same time, we wanted to honour 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. This prize indicates that - thanks to the brilliant Norman Foster - we succeeded. And we're grateful to everyone who worked so hard to bring it to life.’

The 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize judges, chaired by Sir David Adjaye OBE, said:

‘Bloomberg is a once-in-a-generation project which has pushed the boundaries of research and innovation in architecture.

The design brief called for a building which could rise-up to the challenge of this loaded site and an information-driven environment. 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. This is a building of its place. Art has been commissioned as an integral part to enhance people’s experience of the spaces.

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.

This ground-breaking project demonstrates what is possible through close collaboration between highly-skilled, imaginative architects and a deadly sophisticated, civic-minded client. Bloomberg is an astounding commitment to quality architecture.’

Bloomberg was chosen as the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize winner from the following outstanding shortlisted entries:

  • Bushey Cemetery, Hertfordshire by Waugh Thistleton Architects
  • Chadwick Hall, University of Roehampton, London by Henley Halebrown
  • New Tate St Ives, Cornwall by Jamie Fobert Architects with Evans & Shalev
  • Storey's Field Centre and Eddington Nursery, Cambridge by MUMA
  • The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester College, Oxford by Niall McLaughlin Architects

The jury for the 2018 Prize was comprised of: Sir David Adjaye OBE (Chair); RIBA President, Ben Derbyshire; 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize winner, Alex de Rijke; former Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, Jude Kelly CBE and Almacantar Property Director, Kathrin Hersel. Architect Simon Sturgis was appointed as sustainability advisor.

Nick Myall

News editor

Key Facts

Status

Complete

Foster + Partners
www.fosterandpartners.com

More projects by this architect

China Resources Land building

Central Park Precinct

Axis Madrid

Venice Architecture Biennale Pavilions

Tech Spot #101: Node

PGA TOUR HQ

Murray Hotel

3Beirut

Marseille Airport extension

Apple Park Visitor Center

Ocean Terminal

Apple Michigan Avenue

MOL Campus

Bloomberg’s European HQ

Mälarterrassen

Tech Spot #89: NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge

Ourense FFCC Station

Circular Quay Tower

PennFirst Hospital

Tech Spot #83: 3D printing

Upper Orwell Crossings

Apple HQ

Eispavillon

Jabal Omar Development Project

Varso Tower

Prado Museum competition

Children’s Hospital

Snowdon Aviary

The Towers

Resources University

Ferring HQ

New Slussen Masterplan

Red Hook

Maggie’s Cancer Centre

New Norton Museum of Art

One Hundred East Fifty Third Street

Mixed-use tower

Musée de la Romanité

Maspero Triangle District

Tech Spot #22: Mars Habitat design competition

Rwandan Droneports

Porcelanosa showroom refurbishment

Thames Hub Airport

Expo 2015 UAE Pavilion

Jeddah transport system

Wessel Casa-Port Phase Two

100 east 53rd

Mexico City International Airport

RMK Headquarters

Yacht Club de Monaco

Hankook Technodome

30 St Mary Axe

First and Mission Towers

Maggie’s Centre at The Christie

551 West 21st Street

Norton Museum of Art

Bund Finance Centre

Faena House

SSE Hydro Arena

The Bow

Lenbachhaus Museum

Apple HQ

Queen Alia International Airport

Vieux Port Pavilion

ME Hotel

Faena Aleph Residences

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

New York Public Library

50 United Nations Plaza

Interview: Vishaan Chakrabarti

Grand Central Terminal Masterplan

425 Park Avenue Tower

Hongqiao Vantone SunnyWorld Centre

Cuba School of Dance

Musee de la Romanitee Narbonne

Shanghai Bund International Financial Centre

Datong Art Museum

Vieux Port

Hearst Tower

Masdar City

Jameson House

Thames Hub

Thames Hub

Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space

Kuwait International Airport

Edmond J. Safra Campus, Hebrew University

3Beirut

Slussen Waterfront

CITIC Bank Headquarters

Washington Convention Center

BMCE branches

Zayed National Museum

Harmon Hotel

Art of the Americas Wing, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Faustino Winery

VietinBank Business Centre

Sperone Westwater Gallery

Banco Ciudad de Buenos Aires

Fortaleza Hall

CircleBath

Langley Academy

CircleBath

Quatermile Phase 1

Campus Biometropolis

Panthalassa

980 Madison Avenue, New York

Vivaldi Tower

Incheon Free Economic Zone

Beijing International Airport

Heathrow Terminal 2

Walbrook Square

Spaceport America

Russia Tower

The Zénith

Slussen Regeneration Masterplan

Aurelis Mixed Use Complex

Camp Nou

Riva Hotel

UAE Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010

Capella Resort

Hermitage Plaza

The John Spoor Broome Library

CityCenter

Russia Tower

Hearst Tower

Al Faisaliah Tower 2

Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, Smithsonian Institution

The Aleph

The Walbrook

Ruskin Square

U2 Tower

Clarence Hotel

Black Sea Gardens

Rimini Waterfront

State Street Corporation Fenway Entrance

Ernst & Young Headquarters

Elephant House, Copenhagen Zoo

Parke-Bernet Gallery, Upper East Side

The Willis Building

The Dolder Grand Hotel

The Index

Beijing Airport

Capella Singapore

Crystal Island

Black Sea Gardens

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

United Arab Emirates Pavilion

Abu Dhabi Plaza

Beach Road

Camp Nou Stadium

Capital Airport

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority Building

Dresden Station Redevelopment

Living Wall

Mixed use tower

Faustino Winery, Gumiel de Izan

Masdar Development

Editorial - Wembley Stadium

Seattle Civic Square

Clarence Hotel, Dublin

980 Madison

Khan Shatyry Entertainment Centre

980 Madison

The Bow

Lenbachhaus Museum

Serrenia residential resort and hotel

Elephant House at Copenhagen zoo

Hearst Tower

Central Market scheme

Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building

Tower Two

Palace of Peace

Milano Santa Giulia

St Paul’s Church, Onslow Square

Walbrook Square

Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts