Foster & Partners notched up a third Stirling Prize Win last night, triumphing with its Bloomberg HQ in the City of London.
Built by Sir Robert McAlpine jury chair David Adjaye praised it as a once in a generation project that pushes the boundaries of research and innovation and demonstrates “astounding commitment to quality architecture.”
A “meeting of minds” is how Norman Foster described the building between his practice and his client, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who commissioned the $1bn building as the European headquarters of his media empire.
“The RIBA Stirling Prize is a testament to the incredible collaborative spirit that has underpinned the entire project from start to finish,” said Foster.
Standing between St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England the highly specified and highly sustainable sandstone building has replaced a post-war government office. Before winning planning permission for this mid rise design, which takes up an entire city block, Foster designed a 22 -glass tower for the site in 2006 which provoked a storm of protest.
At Last nights ceremony held at the Roundhouse it beat off competition from:- Jamie Fobert and Evans and Shaley’s Tate St Ives; Waugh Thistleton’s Bushey Cemetary; Henley Halebrown’s Roehampton University Accommodation Block; Niall McLaughlin’s Oxford University Academic Building; and a Community Building by MUMA in Cambridge.
After the Imperial War Museum at Duxford which won in 1998 and the Gherkin in 2004 this is Foster’s third Stirling Prize. It catapults the practice into the record books, after nearly a decade of being neck and neck with Richard Rogers, Wilkinson Eyre and Zaha Hadid, the only other architects to have won twice
Bloomberg Arcade running through the middle of the Bloomberg Building designed by Foster & Partners.
Saying the building was a monumental achievement RIBA President Ben Derbyshire, said the jury was unanimous in its decision, albeit after vigorous debate.
“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” he said.
“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.”. He was joined on the jury by last year’s winner dRMM’s Alex de Rijke, Jude Kelly, former artistic director of the South Bank and Almacantar Property director Kathrin Hersil. Simon Sturgis was sustainability advisor.
Michael Bloomberg and Norman Foster at the topping-out of Bloomberg’s European HQ.
Adjaye added ” 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 it place. Art has been commissioned as an integral part to enhance people’s experience of the spaces”.
“The deign 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 astonishing commitment to quality architecture”.