Foster + Partners’ Bloomberg HQ scoops RIBA Stirling Prize 2018

Foster + Partners’ Bloomberg HQ scoops RIBA Stirling Prize 2018

There are few worldwide honours to match the UK’s RIBA Stirling Prize so its annual announcement around this time of the year is always an event to be eagerly awaited and savoured. So there must have been cheers and the sound of champagne corks popping at Foster + Partners’ tonight, when their Bloomberg headquarters in London was announced the winner of the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize.

The award ceremony takes place at a prestigious location – often different each year – over dinner and tonight the presentations took place at North London’s Roundhouse, where the celebrated architect’s innovative office design scooped the honour of best building 2018. 

This is a design that has been hailed as the ‘world’s most sustainable office’ and is also thought to be the largest stone building in the City of London since St Paul’s Cathedral. Restrained from the outside but dynamic and expressive on the inside, this building, which occupies a whole city block, balances an exterior that sits comfortably against its City of London historic context, while providing state-of-the-art facilities for the organisation. 

A spiral staircase at the complex’s heart – clad in bronze to match the project’s bronze facade fins – is a real centrepiece for the interior that also features a dramatic, swirling timber-clad lobby, green walls, bespoke art and far reaching views. This complex scheme also incorporates retail, as well as a museum displaying the Roman Temple of Mithras, which was discovered on the site 60 years ago.

Public art on site includes ‘Forgotten Streams’ by Cristina Iglesias. Photography: Nigel Young, courtesy Foster + Partners

Bloomberg’s HQ beat stiff competition from Bushey Cemetery by Waugh Thistleton Architects, Chadwick Hall by Henley Halebrown, New Tate St Ives by Jamie Fobert Architects with Evans & Shalev, Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery by MUMA, and The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre in Oxford by Niall McLaughlin Architects. Yet the judging panel, chaired by Sir David Adjaye OBE, was unanimous in its decision. 

‘Bloomberg is a once-in-a-generation project which has pushed the boundaries of research and innovation in architecture’, says Adjaye. ‘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 same evening saw two more gongs announced. The beautifully understated countryside home in Yorkshire, Old Shed New House, by Tonkin Liu won the Stephen Lawrence Prize 2018, and developer Argent was named 2018 RIBA Client of the Year. Now, anticipation mounts as we are getting closer to the RIBA’s two remaining accolades to be announced later in autumn, the RIBA House of the Year and the RIBA International Prize. §

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