Foster + Partners wins RIBA Stirling Prize 2018

Norman Foster’s studio has been awarded this year’s Stirling Prize for its monolithic Bloomberg headquarters in London.

Bloomberg European headquarters, Foster + Partners, London

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President Ben Derbyshire described the Foster + Partners project as a “monumenal achievement” that has “not just raised the bar for office design and city planning, but smashed the ceiling.”

The European headquarters for the global media company Bloomberg spans a whole block in the City of London, comprising two colossal sandstone blocks covered in bronze fins and linked by a bridge.

An arcade of cafes and shops cutting between the two blocks reinstates a Roman road that once traversed the site – and hints at archaeological remains of the Roman Temple of Mithras that lie below. The temple, discovered sixty years ago, has been opened to the public as part of the project.

Inside, a 210 metre high bronze ramp connects open plan offices fitted with ceilings covered in aluminium “petal” that help to moderate acoustics, temperature and light. The feature is one of many that have helped it back up its claim to being the world’s most sustainable office building.

“From our first discussions to the final details of the project, Mike Bloomberg and I had a ‘meeting of minds’ on every aspect of the project – its sustainable focus, commitment to innovation and drive to create the best workplace for Bloomberg employees,” said Norman Foster.

“The RIBA Stirling Prize is a testament to the incredible collaborative spirit that has underpinned the entire project from start to finish.”

This year’s winner was selected by a jury chaired by architect Sir David Adjaye, and including Derbyshire and last year’s winner, architect Alex de Rijke of dRMM.

“Bloomberg is a once-in-a-generation project which has pushed the boundaries of research and innovation in architecture,” remarked Adjaye.

“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 its place.”

Bloomberg European headquarters, Foster + Partners , London, England, 2018. Photo Nigel Young

This is the third time Foster + Partners has won the RIBA Stirling Prize, having previously scooped the award in 1998 for its Imperial War Museum in Duxford and again in 2004 for 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin) in London.

Six projects were shortlisted for the 23rd edition of the Stirling Prize. The five other projects in the running were: 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 by Niall McLaughlin Architects.

Foster + Partners was announced the winner of the prize during a ceremony held at The Roundhouse Venue in London this evening.

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