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Crystal clear future

02 November 2011

The Crystal

The Siemens centre for urban sustainability, a knowledge hub, an education and exhibition facility, is currently under construction in London. At the end of October the company held the topping-out ceremony for the new building, which will be known as ‘The Crystal’, an event attended by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Outstanding in both its architectural and environmental features, Siemens is investing around £30m in the building. It will serve as a conference and research centre, and host interactive exhibitions showcasing infrastructure solutions that promise a higher quality of life in city environments. On completion in summer 2012, the centre will be open to experts and any other visitors interested in learning what the city of the future may look like.

Located in the Royal Victoria Docks, the crystalline geometry of the "The Crystal" and its reflecting facade will make the building an unusual addition to London's skyline, and be a prime exponent of construction for energy-efficiency - it will be powered completely by renewable energy and use rainwater harvesting. The building will feature energy efficiency in accordance with the stringent international LEED and BREEAM standards.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London says: “In the same way the wharves and warehouses of East London led the capital's global dominance of the industrial age, so I want this area to be economically vibrant in the 21st century. As part of this vision, we are working to attract the best new high tech industries and environmental businesses to the capital bringing investment and jobs to Londoners. Siemens' Crystal is a perfect platform to help kick-start this regeneration demonstrating the type of dynamic partnership I want London to forge with global innovators in order to create the best big city in the world."

Roland Busch, member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO of the Infrastructure & Cities Sector, said: "Siemens has bundled its expertise and solutions portfolio for cities in the new Sector to enable us to concentrate more exclusively on this growth market. In dialogue with the responsible authorities, we aim to develop solutions to cope with the massive growth of cities and make them liveable centres of business and culture. The Crystal will play a vital role in these endeavours. I look forward to the opening of the centre in summer 2012 and to being able to really push ahead with implementing our plans."

With this education and exhibition facility, Siemens plans to foster the exchange of ideas about global urban development on a number of levels: Architects, city planners, municipal authorities, school children, students and other visitors will come together with infrastructure and technology experts from Siemens and scientific institutions who are working on developing urban centres. A unique interactive exhibition covering almost 2,000 square metres will showcase the city infrastructure of the future and show the possibilities for enhancing sustainability in mobility, building technologies, healthcare and in the supply of energy and water. A conference zone, complete with a large cinema screen, will accommodate around 270 delegates, and there will also be a restaurant and café. The competence centre in London will act as the base from which Siemens technology experts will operate. These experts are also the principal contacts for global city development projects in Siemens Infrastructure & Cities Sector. The company plans to set up two further competence centres in Asia and the USA.

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