The Crystal – a Sustainable Cities Initiative by Siemens, developed in the Docklands, London – has been awarded both a BREEAM Outstanding and LEED Platinum rating, making it the only building in the world to have achieved this status. The project has also just won the British Council for Offices Innovation Award for its significant innovation in sustainability and contribution to sustainable development.
The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is the world’s leading design and assessment method for sustainable buildings setting standards for best practice in sustainable design. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a suite of rating systems for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings – platinum being the highest score a building can achieve.
Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will was the lead consultant and interior architect on the project. Wilkinson Eyre Associates was the shell and core architect; Arup was the M&E and structural engineer; Event Communications designed the exhibition space; ISG was responsible for the construction; and Turner & Townsend provided project management, cost management and CDM coordinator services.
The Crystal serves as a conference centre, urban dialogue platform and technology and innovation centre in a uniquely shaped, glass-clad structure that encompasses more than 6,300 sq m (67,813 sq ft) on the waterfront at the western end of the Royal Victoria Docks in East London.
The building provides a showcase for state-of-the-art technologies to aid energy efficiency. Designed as an ‘all electric’ building, The Crystal uses solar power, ground source heat pumps and energy-efficient LED lighting. No fossil fuels are burnt in the building. Rainwater is harvested for re-use or recycling and the Crystal is ready to be connected to London’s smart grid.
Chris Brandon, managing principal at Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will, said, “The Crystal is a stunning building which acts as an international centre of excellence for sustainability. To be awarded both BREEAM and LEED ratings at the highest standard makes this project an exemplar of what can be achieved.”
Inside the Crystal is the world’s largest exhibition on the future of cities covering 2,000 sq m (21,258 sq ft). The interactive exhibition guides visitors through the urban infrastructure of the future, focusing on possibilities for sustainable mobility, building technologies, power and water supplies, and healthcare. Designed as a hub for dialogue on sustainable urban living and development, the Crystal is open to the public and city decision makers. It also hosts a conference centre with 270 seat auditorium, office space, electric vehicle recharging points and a cafe.
The Crystal represents an investment of approximately £30 million by Siemens and is the flagship of Siemens’ Infrastructure and Cities Sector. The structure is home to Siemens’ global Center of Competence Cities, a team of multi-disciplinary urban experts, who aim to encourage the growth of sustainable cities through partnerships, research and expert collaboration on solutions.