foster + partners has completed bloomberg’s new european headquarters, a pair of buildings that occupy a full city block between notable london landmarks, the bank of england and saint paul’s cathedral. following michael r. bloomberg’s mission as a strong supporter of the arts, the architects have fully integrated a series of commissioned artworks into the design. connected by a bridge, the 3.2 acre site contains two buildings that span the pedestrian arcade — a passage that pays homage to watling street, an ancient roman road that ran through the site. the site also provides pedestrians with three main outdoor, civic spaces or public plazas — two of which feed visitors through the arcade lined with restaurants and cafés on the ground floor.

foster plus partners bloomberg
foster + partners has completed the new headquarters for bloomberg’s european headquarters
image by nigel young | courtesy of foster + partners

 

 

‘the arts help cities thrive – that’s why our company has been a strong supporter of the arts in cities around the world,’ describes bloomberg. ‘the art at our new european headquarters makes our workplace more exciting and inspiring, and it helps to connect us to the surrounding community.’ with an initial six commissions, the company’s european headquarters seeks to define a new relationship between architecture and art installation. simultaneously, bloomberg reinforces the overall importance of supporting international contemporary artists and art projects. the pieces are part of the structure and the overall vision — holistically woven throughout the complex in areas where employees and visitors have daily opportunities to interact with the installations. 

foster plus partners bloomberg
the design takes into account the existing urban landscape and the history of the site
image by nigel young | courtesy of foster + partners

 

 

the building, an example of sustainable architecture with a BREEAM outstanding rating, has achieved the highest design-stage score of any major office development. not only does the design preserve our fragile climate, but also the historical remains of the site and its history. artist cristina iglesias has installed a three-part water sculpture titled ‘forgotten streams’, which looks back to the walbrook river that once flowed across the plot. as architectural fragments of a roman temple were found on the site, space has been designated to house the remains accompanied by a new interpretation center and cultural hub. other artworks integrated into the design where commissioned from michael craig-martin, olafur eliasson, arturo herrera, ben langlands & nikki bell, david tremlett, and pae white.

foster plus partners bloomberg
olafur eliasson’s work is integrated into the primary path of arrival and circulation
image by james newton

 

 

the building’s captivating interior experience begins at the main entrance, which is defined by a substantial porte cochère and formal city square with the newly designed bank underground station directly below it. traveling though the reception lobby, the visitor enters the ‘vortex,’ a double height space made up of curving timber shells that twist to form a central oculus at their apex. the oculus contains a work by renowned artist, olafur eliasson titled ‘no future is possible without the past.’ above, a bronze clad ramp travels the full height of the space as a continuous and smooth loop that is large enough to function as both a walkway and meeting place for people to connection and engage in impromptu conversations.

foster plus partners bloomberg
eliasson’s installation crowns the ‘vortex,’ a dynamic foyer and gathering space
image by nigel young | courtesy of foster + partners

 

 

‘from day one, we talked with mike bloomberg about creating an elegant stone building that responds to its historic setting yet is clearly of its own time and which would be a good neighbor in the city of london in every sense of the word,’ describes lord foster, founder and executive chairman, foster + partners. ‘we wanted the building to have an integrity and continuity of expression both inside and out, creating an inspiring, innovative, dynamic and collaborative workplace for bloomberg that embodies the core values of the company. above all, we had a shared belief with bloomberg that we should provide the highest standards of sustainability and wellbeing for its occupants, as well as create major new public spaces at ground level, making a significant contribution to the daily life of the city of london and its inhabitants.’

foster plus partners bloomberg
installation artworks were seamlessly integrated into the overall design
image by james newton

 

 

the building’s façade features a series of tilted bronze fins. each fin contains operable panels that can open the face of the blade. when outdoor temperatures permit, the panels open automatically to allow fresh air to enter and circulate through the space. the internal section of the fin contains an acoustic lining that diminishes the sounds of the city to a level that allows for a productive work environment within. 

foster plus partners bloomberg
the bronze fins on the exterior of the building can open to allow fresh air into the space
image by nigel young | courtesy of foster + partners

foster plus partners bloomberg
the project was a complex of two buildings connected by a bridge that spans a covered arcade
image by james newton

foster plus partners bloomberg
the arcade space reinstates watling street, an ancient roman road that ran through the site
image by nigel young | courtesy of foster + partners 

foster plus partners bloomberg
the arcade is lined with restaurants and cafes
image by nigel young | courtesy of foster + partners

foster plus partners bloomberg
cristina iglesias has created a sculpture titled ‘forgotten streams’ in homage to the walbrook river 
image by nigel young | courtesy of foster + partners

foster plus partners bloomberg
the arcade has become a major pedestrian walkway, shielding its visitors from extreme weather and cold
image by nigel young | courtesy of foster + partners

foster plus partners bloomberg
entering into the space, a visitor passes through the reception lobby and into the ‘vortex’
image by james newton

foster plus partners bloomberg
‘sortario’ by arturo herrera is located on the 6th floor in the dining room
image by james newton

foster plus partners bloomberg
workspaces are designed for collaborative work
image by nigel young | courtesy of foster + partners

foster plus partners bloomberg
pae white’s artwork adorns the walls of the auditorium’s pre-function space
image by james newton

 

 

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