Swiss Re Building: The Gherkin London

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Swiss Re Building

30 St Mary Axe London: Gherkin Tower – Skyscraper, England, UK

page updated 30 Jul 2014

The Gherkin – Put up for Sale

London’s Gherkin skyscraper has been put up for sale, with interest expected from Chinese, other Asian, and US buyers, estate agency Savills has said.

The Gherkin London tower building
The Gherkin photo © Adrian Welch

The City of London tower is expected to fetch offers in the region of £650m, the firm said.

Savills and Deloitte Real Estate have been jointly instructed to sell 30 St Mary Axe, which is the building’s formal title.

Information from: bbc news

page updated 3 Jul 2014

The Gherkin – Swiss Re London

Address: 30 St Mary Axe, City of London, England, UK
Date: 2004
Design: Foster + Partners – UK Architects led by Norman Foster

The Gherkin wins CTBUH 10 Year Award – 22 Jul 2013

Gherkin – new photos from 12 Nov 2012:
Gherkin building Gherkin building
photographs © Adrian Welch

A new view of The Gherkin due to the building in front of it being demolished – photo exclusive to e-architect – from 1 Apr 2012

Swiss Re Building
photograph © Nick Weall

Swiss Re HQ, 30 St Mary Axe
1997-2004
Project Architect: Ken Shuttleworth, now of make
Nickname: The Gherkin

London’s first ecological tall building and an instantly recognisable addition to the city’s skyline, 30 St Mary Axe is rooted in a radical approach – technically, architecturally, socially and spatially. Generated by a radial plan, its energy-conscious enclosure resolves walls and roof into a continuous triangulated skin, allowing column-free floor space, light and views.

Swiss Re Building Swiss Re Building Swiss Re Building Swiss Re Building
photographs © Nick Weall

Commissioned by Swiss Re, one of the worlds leading reinsurance companies, it rises forty-one storeys and provides 76,400 square metres of accommodation, including offices and a shopping arcade accessed from a newly created public plaza. At the very top of the building Londons highest occupied floor – is a club room that offers a spectacular 360-degree panorama across the capital.

The Gherkin Building London Gherkin The Gherkin Tower The Gherkin London
Gherkin photographs © Adrian Welch

Generated by a radial plan, with a circular perimeter, the building widens in profile as it rises and tapers towards its apex. This distinctive form responds to the constraints of the site: the building appears more slender than a rectangular block of equivalent size; reflections are reduced and transparency is improved; and the slimming of its profile towards the base maximises the public realm at ground level. Environmentally, its profile reduces the amount of wind deflected to the ground compared with a rectilinear tower of similar size, helping to maintain pedestrian comfort at street level, and creates external pressure differentials that are exploited to drive a unique system of natural ventilation.

Swiss Re Building Swiss Re Building Swiss Re Building Swiss Re Building
photographs © Nick Weall

Conceptually the tower develops ideas explored in the Commerzbank and before that in the Climatroffice, a theoretical project with Buckminster Fuller that suggested a new rapport between nature and the workplace, its energy-conscious enclosure resolving walls and roof into a continuous triangulated skin. Here, the towers diagonally braced structural envelope allows column-free floor space and a fully glazed facade, which opens up the building to light and views. Atria between the radiating fingers of each floor link together vertically to form a series of informal break-out spaces that spiral up the building. These spaces are a natural social focus places for refreshment points and meeting areas – and function as the buildings lungs, distributing fresh air drawn in through opening panels in the faade. This system reduces the towers reliance on air conditioning and together with other sustainable measures, means that the building is expected to use up to half the energy consumed by air-conditioned office towers.

Swiss Re Building London Swiss Re Building Swiss Re HQ Building Swiss Re London
Gherkin photographs © Adrian Welch

In 2004, 30 St Mary Axe won the RIBA Stirling Prize. Accepting the award from George Ferguson, the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Norman Foster thanked the jury for acknowledging the significance of its design. Winning the Stirling Prize is a great honour, he stated, It is a credit to the commitment and vision of an exceptional client and a talented team. 30 St Mary Axe is an embodiment of the core values that we have championed for more than thirty years: values about humanising the workplace, conserving energy, democratising the way people communicate within a building, and the way that building relates to the urban realm.

Swiss Re HQ 30 St Mary Axe 30 St Mary Axe Building Swiss Re tower
Gherkin photographs © Adrian Welch

Swiss Re HQ – 30 St Mary Axe Building Information

Client: Swiss Re
Consultants: Arup, Gardiner & Theobold, Hilson Moran Partnership, Derek Lovejoy Partnership, Speirs and Major, Arup Fire, Arup Transportation, BDSP Partnership, Emmer Pfenninger, Kontor GTCM, Linklaters & Alliance, Montagu Evans, Osprey Mott MacDonald, PTS, Reef UK, RWG Associates, Sandy Brown Associates, Space Syntax Laboratory, The Richard Coleman Consultancy, Tricon, Van Deusen & Associates, VIDEF

Swiss Re London architects – Foster + Partners

Gherkin – Context photographs © Adrian Welch:

The Gherkin context The Gherkin context The Gherkin context The Gherkin context

Gherkin Building Photographs taken with Panasonic DMC-FX01 lumix camera; Leica lense: 2816×2112 pixels – original photos available upon request: info(at)e-architect.co.uk

Swiss Re context : City of London Buildings

The Gherkin London

30 St Mary Axe : London Skyscraper

Address: 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8EP


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