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Five million hours later: Foster's Bloomberg HQ tops out


Foster + Partners’ new offices for Bloomberg in the City of London have topped out after more than five million man hours of work on the massive site

A topping out ceremony, attended by both Norman Foster and Michael Bloomberg, was held at the building yesterday (17 September).

The scheme sits on a 3.2 acres site in Walbrook Square in the City of London and is not set to complete until 2017 - after another 9 million hours have been spent on site.

Designed in collaboration with engineers to the stars AKTII, the two triangular-shaped buildings will house a 250-seat theatre, 18 restaurants, 4600 desk spaces, two public spaces, and a new entrance to Bank Underground station.

The project, which is being delivered by contractor Sir Robert McAlpine and is aiming for BREEAM Outstanding, will be 70 per cent naturally ventilated and features breathable walls with bronze fins.

At ground level the building will be cut through by an arcade following the route of the original Roman road which ran through the site.

The eight-storey building has been kept low to respect the height of surrounding buildings and sightlines towards St Paul’s Cathedral.

Speaking at the topping out ceremony, Foster said: ‘It could have gone up to 22 storeys but we have chosen to do an eight storey building with a two-storey set back.’

He added: ‘This extraordinarily collaborative effort was made possible by Michael Bloomberg, who not only commissioned the building but has personally been involved at every step of the design. From the very first meeting he expressed his desire to make the building relate sympathetically to its neighbours in every way.

‘This is reflected in a building which is much lower than its allowed height – is penetrated by a public arcade, most of the ground floor brings life to the civic domain, and is faced in traditional stone and bronze.

‘Every design decision, from materials carefully chosen to age and mellow over time, to the revival of Watling Street – the ancient Roman route that cuts across the site – reflects the exacting standards and total commitment of everyone involved. The result is a building that is uniquely of its place and time, an exemplar of sustainable design, and a workplace that will attract the best and the brightest global talent to the City of London.’

Construction of Foster + Partners' Bloomberg office

Project facts


  • 600 tons of bronze used on project to date – equivalent to the weight of 5 blue whales.
  • 15,500 tons of steel installed – 1,000 tons more than used on Brooklyn Bridge and more than double the weight of the Eiffel Tower.
  • 1,000 km of fibre optic cabling – the distance between London and Geneva.
  • Piles: 868 – Deepest pile 76.4m (250ft), 2.4m (8ft) in diameter.
  • Concrete poured: 65,000m³
  • 450 tons of aluminium (2.25million spoons)
  • Number of desks: 4600


  • Number of man hours worked so far: approx. 5 million
  • Man hours planned to complete construction of project: approx: 9 million
  • Number of people who have worked on the project to date: 6,223
  • Number of people currently working on site: 1,155
  • 26 different languages spoken on site



Readers' comments (2)

  • Would that there were more people like Michael Bloomberg commissioning civilised buildings - there's a desperate need in Edinburgh right now.

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  • Chris Rogers

    "a building which is much lower than its allowed height" - disingenuous, since it also is pushed to the absolute outside limit of its plot and thus dominates the site in a way Bucklersbury House, its predecessor, didn't. That said, te stone cladding is excellent and could work very well, but the bronze fins clash quite badly, and it's hard to see how or why they work, aesthetically or practically, yet. Staggering that it'll take another 18m at least to finish though.

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