Wood Awards 2018 shortlist: The Vortex, Bloomberg

The Vortex is a dramatic double-height space built out of American red oak at the main entrance of Bloomberg’s new European headquarters.

Its three inclined, curving timber shells are a literal and metaphorical twist on classic wood-panelled London lobbies. It is deliberately mysterious, responding to Bloomberg’s objective to create a building that unfolds gradually.

The openings between the individual timber shells define the building’s separate entry and exit paths. The structure consists of a double timber wall, constructed as a pre-assembled series of stressed-skin cassettes, where the main joists are orientated to generate the curvature of the surface, while keeping the timber elements straight.

The timber skeleton is covered by a double layer of plywood and timber panelling chosen for its warmth and ability to provide excellent acoustic properties. 6,000 unique panels had to be put together, much like a large jigsaw that could only be assembled in a particular sequence. Four shades of veneer were randomised across the surface to avoid concentration of any one shade in a particular area.


Architects: Foster + Partners
Location: London, United Kingdom (U.K.)


All images are credited to AHEC