When financial media giants Bloomberg commissioned Foster + Partners to design their new 100,000 m² London HQ with ground floor retail space and views of the city, the design team overcame a number of constraints.
The architect’s vision consisted of two adjacent ten-storey buildings with a pedestrian access path cutting diagonally through. A steel frame with composite concrete floors is clad with sandstone and metal fins to produce a solid, understated elegance set to last within the hostile city environment. The building design was awarded BREEAM ‘Outstanding’, achieving the highest score for any office building in the UK.
The structure’s sensitive island location meant that physical limitations were set by the adjacent roads, as well as the remains of London Wall running close by and plethoric archaeological relics which we had to relocate to a museum within the new ‘North’ building. Building close to an existing sewer, the adjacent Waterloo & City line tunnel and the construction of a new direct link to Bank Underground station all required third party agreement and considerably affected programming. Foundation designs were complex and bridged over delicate areas where necessary.
In two such immensely complex ten-storey structures, adding value through design has been key, and we have been able to do this from the basement upwards. The location was previously home to Bucklersbury House, a disused 1950s structure demolished prior to start on site. However, the slab-and-pile foundations were retained following a radar survey which confirmed that the vast majority could remain, with additional piles introduced only in the south-west corner.
In terms of superstructure we have paid attention to flexibility, introducing long spans and structuring floor plates to provide uninterrupted floor space. The sheer number of beams and the building’s shape has led to an extremely intricate design of transferring beams and triangular column grids, and in the interest of delivering a building of visual impact as well as longevity, steel tonnages have not been seen as a limiting factor.
Two complex, yet elegant, ten-storey buildings of sandstone and steel for Bloomberg’s London HQ
Foster + Partners