5 Bank Street
The vision for Five Bank Street was to co-create and deliver a best-in-class working environment for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) new headquarters. With an emphasis on well-being, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and community from the outset, the design fosters a culture of choice, collaboration, and innovation. The new workspace is functional and flexible, supporting the business and employees’ needs in a fair and transparent manner.
Moving its headquarters to a new location allowed the EBRD to approach its workplace with a fresh mindset that reflects a paradigm shift towards sustainability, well-being and social responsibility; a transformation driven by the huge global changes the business has experienced during a nearly 30-year tenure in its former building, and the enormous social shifts turbocharged by the pandemic.
Throughout the EBRD’s new workplace, the design seeks to connect occupants with nature. Many elements of biophilic design are employed to enhance staff well-being, including natural materials, patterns of nature, geographical references to the sweeping curves of the Thames in joinery details, and over 3000 trees and plants across the building. Reflecting the idea of a pathway through nature, the staircase is lined with continuous timber paneling and curves around a single, centrally placed tree. The layout of the workplace floors fosters a culture of choice, collaboration, and innovation, while signage and environmental graphics reflect organic shapes and the movement of water.
Ensuring that the fit-out is net zero carbon was central to both the project’s design principles and the EBRD’s firmwide offsetting strategy, which meant the design and construction phase of the fit-out prioritised circularity, sourcing responsible materials, and reducing emissions wherever possible. The design of the building retains a strong focus on performance not just in terms of energy and whole life carbon, but also with regards to air, water, acoustics, and lighting quality, which will be continually verified in the operational facility.