Siemens has opened its first center for sustainable urban development in London. The heart of the Crystal is the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to sustainable urban development.

The crystal-shaped building will serve as a conference center, urban dialogue platform and technology and innovation center all in one, bringing together political decision-makers, infrastructure experts and the general public in order to develop concepts for the future of cities and their infrastructures.

“Cities are the engines of the world economy and also have the greatest impact on the environment. The development of our planet will stand or fall with the development of cities. Looking ahead to the urban future, the Crystal showcases a wide variety of opportunities and concrete solutions,” said Siemens President and CEO Peter Löscher at the opening ceremony.

After a construction phase of about a year and a half, the Crystal brings an architectural highlight and one of the world’s greenest buildings to the British capital. Siemens invested some €35 million in the project.

Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the building features a 270-seat auditorium as well as the world’s largest exhibition on urban sustainability. Boasting an area of 2,000 square meters, the exhibition presents existing infrastructure solutions that make life in cities more sustainable and environmentally friendly while enhancing its quality. At the Crystal, experts from the Siemens Center of Competence Cities engage in research and development geared to technologies and innovations for tomorrow’s urban infrastructures. In addition, the Infrastructure & Cities Sector will coordinate its City Account Managers from the Crystal.

“Cities worldwide are making investments to improve their water supplies, power grids, transportation systems and building infrastructures. Our addressable market alone has a volume of €300 billion. In this growth market, the Crystal will help us intensify dialogue with our customers.

The Crystal is our Sector’s showcase, contact point and mastermind,” noted Roland Busch, member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO of the Infrastructure & Cities Sector. With roughly 87,000 employees, the Sector provides sustainable technologies for urban areas and their infrastructures.

Following its inauguration, the Crystal will serve as the venue for two conferences. On September 20, the UN Habitat program will bring together municipal decision-makers and city planners at a conference entitled Urban Planning for City Leaders. On September 21, participants at the future-oriented Digital Life Design Cities conference, sponsored by Hubert Burda Media, will address questions relating to sustainable urban development and visions for smart cities.

Encompassing an area of more than 6,300 square meters, the Crystal is a paragon of energy efficiency. The facility consumes 50 percent less power and emits 65 percent less carbon dioxide than comparable office buildings. Renewable energy sources meet the Crystal’s heating and cooling needs, a photovoltaic system generates green electricity, and rainwater is harvested for use. On the BREEAM and LEED international assessments for energy-efficient buildings, the Crystal will receive top scores (Outstanding and Platinum, respectively) – making it one of the greenest facilities in the world./.