The London Crystal, smart city showcase by Siemens London is a top world tourist destination for a reason—its urban and architectural design legacy can be breathtaking. That is doubly true in the past decade as the city builds its green, smart credentials in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Smart City engineering giant Siemens is part of London's initiative to imagine what a city of the future might look like. And you might be surprised what they are proposing: a Crystal not designed by Daniel Libeskind.
The building will house research facilities for about one-hundred or so staff dedicated to designing and distributing city technologies that will change things. The £30 million Crystal is arguably a cornerstone for London’s planned Green Enterprise District. Spanning six East London boroughs and 48 square kilometres of land the GED is London's way to corner the global market of the low carbon economy much like the city has done with trading markets.
The Crystal will showcase a number of smart city technologies destined to become the basis of a sustainable, urban future. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the Crystal will meet international standards for sustainable design and construction, including LEED and BREEAM. Surprisingly, the building will be electrically heated, although Siemens investment in the London Array offshore wind farm makes grid access a green option. Preparatory work on the London wind farm generators.
Smart grid technologies, however, do not by themselves make for MESH CIties (the urban future beyond smart). Layers of Internet aware objects have to be assembled together with good design and civic participation to make the cities that will be both sustainable and a pleasure to live in. Will Siemens get the recipe right? Visit the building and find out.