Located between the Bank of England and St Paul’s Cathedral, the building responds to its historic context, yet is uniquely of its place and time. It is a true exemplar of sustainable development, with a BREEAM Outstanding rating – the highest design-stage score ever achieved by any major office development.
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. Bloomberg Arcade is now a key route for people moving around the City, with restaurants and cafes at ground level, set back behind an undulating façade under a covered colonnade.
Three public plazas, located at each end of the arcade and in front of the building’s entrance, provide new civic spaces in the heart of the Square Mile. The building height protects key views of St Paul’s Cathedral whilst respecting neighbouring historic buildings. Its striking façade is defined by a structural sandstone frame in response to the adjacent Magistrate’s Court, 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, pitch and density across each façade according to orientation and solar exposure, whilst also being 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. The main entrance to Bloomberg is defined by a substantial porte-cochère, where the building forms two sides of a new formal city square. Beneath this square is a new entrance to Bank Underground station, constructed as part of the project, that connects to the Waterloo and City line.
Arriving at the main entrance, everyone passes through the reception lobby before being drawn into the Vortex – a dramatic double-height space created by three inclined, curving timber shells, whose unique form echoes the dynamism and energy of Bloomberg. These shells twist to form an oculus at their apex, which contains an artwork titled ‘No Future Is Possible Without A Past’ by Olafur Eliasson.
From here, high-speed fully-glazed lifts with a unique concealed mechanism – another innovation developed specifically for the building – carry everyone directly to the sixth floor. 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.
The upper level of the pantry is formed by a sweeping crescent of individual meeting booths that overlook the central space, known as the Ha-Ha, referring to the classic landscape device that inspired their design. 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. The notion of teamwork and collaboration flows into the desking systems and layout of each floor. Bespoke height-adjustable, radial desks are laid out in clusters and pods for up to six people, allowing for privacy, personalisation, wellbeing and collaborative working.
The ceiling is another unique and innovative element developed for the building, inspired by the pressed metal ceilings of New York. Its distinctive polished aluminium panels of ‘petals’ perform multiple roles – ceiling finish, light reflectors, cooling elements and acoustic attenuation – combining various elements of a typical office ceiling into an energy-saving integrated system. Source by Foster + Partners.
- Location: London, United Kingdom
- Architect: Foster + Partners
- Foster + Partners Team: Norman Foster, Michael Jones, Kate Murphy, Simona Bencini, Owe Schoof, Stefan Behling, Grant Brooker, David Nelson, Spencer de Grey
- Project Team: Stefan Bench, Robin Blanchard, Saxbourne Cheung, Federico De Paoli, Jon Fielding, Irene Gallou, Rie Hasloev Dancey, Mike Holland, Lucas Mazarrasa Chavarri, Bruno Moser, Vladimir Shukhov, Christopher Trott, Rene Wolter, Tsutsui Yusuke, Aike Behrens, Ruben Bergambagt, Giovanni Betti, Peter Brittain, Stefano Capra, Luca Carraro, Atisthan Charoenkool, Christopher Christophi, Emilio Cimma, Victor Corell Gasco, Salmaan Craig, Begona De Menaca, Rodriguez Avial, Jan Dierckx, Petru Dragoiu, Julia Cordero Eisman, Gavin Fung, Giuseppe Giacoppo, Charles Gillespie, Philip Goodman, Florian Goscheff, Pietro Gottardi, Neil Gray, Luigi Grosso, Jens Hoffman, Elisa Honkanen, Brandon Hubbard, Agnete Jukneviciute, Arjun Kaicker, Thomas Kalkhoven, Tamika Kawabuchi, Alastair King, Jedrzej Kolesinski, Javier Lahuerta, Ignacio Larracoechea San, Sebastian, Natalie Latacz, Christopher Lee, Jean-Francois Lemay, Isabel Lopez Taberna, Milena Marucci, David McGowan, Joao Mendes, Rebekka Mueller, Wolfgang Muller, James Murray, Premveer Nagpal, Liz Ng, Laura Nieto Mendez, Nicholas Oldroyd, Ollie Battle, Brett Ormrod, Robert Henry Parr-Young, Ino Protopapa, Jonathan Rabagliati, Giorgio Ramponi, Maria Sagrario M Torres, Francesco Sasia, Behdad Shahi, Laura Smith, Ryan Sorrell, Dimitrios Sotiropoulos, Dimitra Tampaki, Harsh Thapar, Dimitrios Themelis, Arthur Van Der Harten, Sarin Varadul, Thomas Wagner, Michael Ward, Vincent Westbrook, James White, Nicholas Wong, Ronald Wong, James Wroot
- Development Advisors: BNP Paribas
- Construction Manager: Sir Robert McAlpine
- Structural Engineer: AKT II
- Services Engineer: Sweco
- Lift Consultant: Sweco
- Fire Engineer: Sweco
- Cost Consultant: AECOM
- Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates
- Acoustic Consultant: Sandy Brown Associates
- Landscape Consultant: Charles Funke Associates
- Planning Consultant: DP9
- Art Consultant: Nancy Rosen Inc.
- Accessibility Consultant: David Bonnett Associates
- Catering Consultant: Coverpoint
- TV Set Design: Jack Morton
- Façade Consultants: FMDC, BMT Group, Optis
- Ornithologist: Dr Nigel Clark
- Natural Ventilation Consultants: Breathing Buildings, Wirth Research, Price Industries
- Wayfinding Consultants: Whybrow
- Signage Designer: Studio Fernando Guttierez
- Security Consultant: QCIC
- AV and IT Consultant: PTS
- Temple of Mithras Designers: Local Projects, Matthew Schreiber Studio, Studio Joseph
- Façade Access Consultant: Reef Associates
- Rights of Light Surveyor: Gordon Ingram Associates
- Traffic Consultant: JMP Consultants
- Archaeology: Museum of London Archaeology
- Pedestrian Flow – Public Realm: Space Syntax
- Development Manager: Stanhope
- Client: Bloomberg LP
- Year: 2017
- Photographs: Nigel Young, Courtesy of Foster + Partners
Article by Marco Rinaldi