The Crystal was commissioned by Siemens and designed by WilkinsonEyre originally as an exhibition centre and think tank. In 2022 it reopened as London’s new City Hall and is now the home of the London Assembly. It sits within East London's regenerated Royal Docks, designated a Green Enterprise District, and is adjacent to WilkinsonEyre's Emirates Air Line terminal at Royal Victoria Dock.
The all-glass building challenges conventional ideas on sustainability, championing the use of advanced technology to minimise energy use. Six different types of highly insulated glass have been used in the cladding, each with varying levels of transparency to moderate solar gain and frame views into and out of the building. Reflective glass is used on the backward-leaning facets which face the sun, while transparent glass is used on the inner faces angled towards the ground.
The building has exemplary sustainability credentials, receiving BREEAM Outstanding and LEED Platinum ratings on completion. As a demonstration of sustainable design, it employs several new technologies to reduce energy use rather than relying solely on passive systems. Along with its innovative thermal envelope, a sophisticated management system allows every element in this all-electric building to be monitored, benchmarked and fine-tuned for comfort and minimal energy use, while surplus energy can be returned to the National Grid.