Sustainable design for media giant Bloomberg

03/12/2018 London is almost a home away from home for seele employees. Façade construction specialist seele has already been involved in more than 70 projects in the British capital. And the new European headquarters of media enterprise Bloomberg has now joined that list of projects. The designers, structural engineers, logistics experts and site crews making up the project team have provided a steel-and-glass roof structure, a timber-and-glass interior façade and glass balustrades. The building was awarded a BREEAM 'Outstanding' rating for its sustainability on 6 March 2018.

Gersthofen, 12 March 2018. The architects from Foster + Partners designed the new Bloomberg media headquarters according to the latest sustainability criteria. Their concept was for a "breathing building", with fresh air entering via the façade and exhaust air leaving via the atrium roof. seele turned these requirements into practice. BREEAM is a method for assessing the ecological and socio-cultural aspects of a building’s sustainability. The Bloomberg office complex achieved the highest score and therefore could be awarded an 'Outstanding' rating.

Intricate roof solution "made by seele"
Detailed geometric planning, fabrication and erection of the many components making up the roof structure were all part of seele’s brief. "It was the exposed location, next to St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the constructional stipulations resulting from that, that influenced the design," is how Thomas Spitzer, managing director of se-austria (a company of the seele group of companies), describes the thinking behind the design process. "In addition, a whole host of functions had to be integrated in the shallow dome forming the roof, including blast resistance." One of the impressive features of the solution for the 335sqm roof is the way it draws waste air out of the atrium but also ensures natural ventilation for the interior. The system consists of 37 mainly triangular panes of insulating glass fixed in aluminium frames and fitted with a total of 236 ventilation flaps along the sides.

Intricate interior details
The new Bloomberg headquarters houses offices and restaurants plus a 250-seat multi-purpose auditorium. The design and construction of the interior façade for the auditorium presented an exciting new challenge for seele because the room acoustics had to be taken into account. The special geometry called for alternating glass and timber plus an offset arrangement over 7m on two different levels. Some 60cbm of northern red oak from America was required for the 127 glued laminated timber members, which alternate with panes of glass with a complex trapezoidal shape. All timber had to comply with the stipulations of FSC certification. In order to achieve the high production quality required for the glulam members, every single one was designed in 3D and the data sent directly to a five-axis CNC machine for processing. "Besides steel and glass, timber is also becoming increasingly important to us as a building material. By combining it with glass, we can create magnificent structures. Our employees have a profound understanding of the materials used, which allows us to create unique solutions," explains Thomas Spitzer.

BREEAM award for sustainability
BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method. It is awarded annually to construction projects and specialists for exceptional achievements. Selected by an independent panel from the BREEAM-certified projects nominated each year, the winning buildings represent outstanding design and accomplishments in new and existing buildings, refurbishment projects and fitting-out. The day on which the BREEAM rating for Bloomberg’s HQ in London was announced, 6 March 2018, marked the day on which the sustainable design was finally honoured.

© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

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