Siemens opens the Crystal in the Docklands
The Crystal is a conference and exhibition centre owned by German firm Siemens that sits shimmering in the sun, on the edge of the Royal Victoria Docks. In a ceremony that saw Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson delivering speeches about community, prosperity, and regeneration, the Crystal opened Wednesday amidst great fanfare. Touted by Siemens as a sustainable cities initiative, the Crystal was constructed in the Green Enterprise District at the heart of the Docklands for close to £30 million.
Connected by suggestion, if not exactly location, to the famed Crystal Palace of the 19th century, the Crystal is said to be the greenest building in the world to date. As Sir Robin said at last night’s reception, “this is Newham, we don’t do ‘probably’; this is the most sustainable building in the world.”
Incorporating technology driven solutions ranging from solar panels to rainwater collection, the Crystal’s C02 emissions will be more than 65% lower than those of similar sites, with the building itself generating around 20% of its own power.
The Crystal plays host to Siemens’ cities account managers, who handle Siemens’ relationships with the cities across the world that make up their client portfolio (among the top five are London, New York and Berlin). In addition, there are exhibits open to the public, like the Forces of Change theatre, through which Siemens outlines problems facing humanity (global warming, over-population etc.), the focus being on how technology provided by the company can address such issues.
Asked whether the Crystal – which sits on 3500 m2 of waterfront property – will provide jobs for east Londoners, Sir Robin said the impact was likely to be more about tourism and education than employment.
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