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acknowledged as the ideal client. Part of this is presumably because he doesn’t just regard buildings as being statements of corporate power, but as being places for people, on both efficiency as well as holistic grounds.


His European headquarters building, sensitively planned to be medium-rise to fit into its City of London setting, was designed to an outstanding level of material quality by Foster + Partners. It has now proved to be the RIBA’s favourite too, picking up the Stirling Prize. Some have complained that far less expensive contenders (it cost £1.3bn) offered equally good architecture in their context, however it is hard to deny how impressive the HQ is on all levels. From the bronze fins specially designed to bring in fresh air, to the magnetic timber floors, to the expanses of aluminium ceiling ‘petals’ attenuating sound and cooling the building, evidence is everywhere of extreme care and attention to detail – a testament to the UK profession that gives a big reason to be cheerful.

A lot of its qualities are people-focused, echoing Mr Bloomberg’s words, such as in providing a wide circulation ramp and an overall level of comfort which is unusual for commercial buildings. The open-plan layouts are focused around making staff productive as well, tapping into the ‘issue du jour’, and one which will not go away as the UK struggles to ensure that firms up their productivity in future years.

The many environmental qualities that affect a workplace can provide crucial support not only to employees’ motivation to succeed, but also their ability to concentrate and perform at their best day to day. Acoustics are of course one of the most important elements, and internally Bloomberg is perhaps most notable for how quiet and calm – almost library-like – its spaces are. It feels like a place where concentration is prioritised above all.

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Back in the less inspiring everyday, with Michael Bloomberg having been contrastingly scathing about Brexit, his views have now been echoed by leading lights in the architecture profession. They have finally put their heads above the parapet in numbers, co-signing an ‘open letter’ to Theresa May from Piers Taylor of Invisible Studio. With names such as David Chipperfield, Niall McLaughlin, Paul Monaghan, Robin Nicholson, Sophie Twohig, and Stephen Hodder, the list supporting the strongly worded letter is a powerful showing by the profession, against increasingly bleak prospects in terms of hopes for a deal with EU.

Says Taylor: “Cooperation across borders is critical to the success of our practices. Much of our work is pan-European, and many of our staff are from the EU...We believe that without being members of the EU this success would not have been possible.” He goes on to say: “Under proposed immigration rules, your definition of a skilled worker excludes almost all of those who come to work in our industry...this is devastating.”

The question is, will anyone listen? 11.18

James Parker Editor

MORPHEUS HOTEL, MACAU Zaha Hadid Architects wraps hotel with world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton to put casino resort on the design map

JEAN BISHOP INTEGRATED CARE CENTRE, HULL A pioneering NHS elderly care centre with an added fire station

ON THE COVER... Morpheus is the fifth in a group of high-rise hotels within the City of Dreams integrated hotel/ casino complex in Macao. It stands out as an ambitious and unique design statement with the world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton. For the full report on this project, go to page 26 Cover image © Virgile Simon Bertrand

s a business, we have one expense – people. Anything we can do to make them more efficient has to be a good economic deal, rather than shoehorning them in”. These are the words of Mike Bloomberg, financial media billionaire, former New York Mayor, and a man widely



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