Projects

21/02/2018

Red oak wood covers the headquarters of Bloomberg

The American Red oak wood - widely used in the United States, in China and Japan but still emerging in Europe - strengthens its presence on the European building market with an important architecture project signed by the well-known Foster + Partners studio.

The American Red oak wood - widely used in the United States, in China and Japan but still emerging in Europe - strengthens its presence on the European building market with an important architecture project signed by the well-known Foster + Partners studio.

Designed by the team led by Norman Foster, the beautiful headquarters of more than 1.1 million ft2 of the financial information giant Bloomberg, located in the City of London, is already competing for major international architecture awards, obtaining a good score for the environmental issues, with a rating record BREEAM of 98.5% for workspace development.

The material

The building is characterized by the American red oak, in particular by the visual charm of its pinkish hues and its technical performance. The architect Michael Jones - Foster + Partners tells: “It is not used for mere decorative purposes, but is the interiors’ main aesthetics element and has a double sustainability goal: on the one hand, environmental, for the intrinsic energy efficiency of wood; on the other hand, social, for the high living comfort it can ensure”.

The client desired a structure that perfectly matched the surrounding urban context by means of different materials, besides the need for a contemporary look and uniqueness expressed by the building itself. For these reasons, they have widely used bronze and stone from Derbyshire (9,000 tons) but also wood (only 37,160 m2 for the floor), which can be found throughout the London district”.

@ Foster + Partner & Nigel Young

The interiors

The red oak immediately welcomes who enters the building lobby, called “Vortex” for its suggestive torsion of the shape and characterized by 1,858 m2 of intersecting curved wooden walls.

The Vortex is a modern and spectacular element common to many classic English buildings”, Jones adds. “This building also testify how innovation has overcome the challenges in the use of wood. With the vertical use of this coating, we risked an excessive reverberation, so we micro-drilled it with the laser. This made it sound-absorbing, without altering its aesthetics”.

The red oak was also used in the multipurpose hall next to the auditorium, made of laminated wood, for a total of 1350 m³ and on the floor, with a special installation in which each wooden plank can be raised and installed again, especially in case of damage.

Every slab has a magnetic strip along its entire length that keeps it hooked to the underlying metal base”, the architect explained. This laying method, implemented by a special sound-absorbing membrane, eliminates foot-traffic crunches and softens the noise.

Moreover, wood will require little maintenance thanks to the combination of the oil finish on the floor, the lacquering of the panels and the natural life of the material.