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🟩 GreenBricks Building of the Week 🟩 The Crystal

Crystalline green

Conceived as a peephole to the future in Siemens’ sustainable cities initiative. Now City Hall for Greater London Authority. The Crystal’s multi-faceted, neo-futurism brings a new architectural language to the docklands.


🏢Building Details

  • Completed 2012 for Siemens: reopened Jan 2022 as London’s new City Hall

  • Inspired by The Crystal Palace: glass and iron engineering marvel built in 1851 to host London’s Great Exhibition

  • 200,000 sq. ft.

👷🏾‍♀️Developer & Contractor

✍️Architects & Engineers


  • First to achieve both BREEAM Outstanding + LEED Platinum: CO2 emissions 70% lower than comparable offices

  • Triple-layered high-performance glass allows in 70% of natural daylight but only 30% of solar energy – creating a “thermal envelop” made from 6 different types of glass

  • Ground source heat pump draws heat in from the ground outside, and during hot days, transfers it back outside – via 17km long network of buried pipes

  • All-electric: 5,000+ sq. ft. of solar panels – capability for surplus energy to be returned to National Grid

🥦 Wellbeing

  • Established as workplace + visitor centre + think tank: fostering knowledge sharing and collaboration towards sustainable city solutions

  • Public ownership ensured for surrounding gardens and landscaped space

  • ‘Community Strategy’ framework created: including educational workshops, local food programme initiatives, community gardening, urban beekeeping

  • Occupancy detection and comfort sensors adjust heat, light, and ventilation for optimal conditions

🎈Bonus feature

It is the UK’s first building to have an approved water safety plan – and is 90% self-sufficient in water supply. Rainwater is harvested from the roof via four corner node columns, stored in a 30,000L underground tank, and treated by filtration and UV. Moreover, 100% of blackwater (wastewater) is recycled for use in toilets and irrigation.

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