The Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe)

First opened in April 2004, the 41-story 30 St Mary Axe building is a commercial skyscraper located in London’s primary financial district. Informally known as The Gherkin, the building has since become an easily recognisable landmark of London as well as one of the city’s best examples of contemporary architecture. It also stands on the former sites of the Baltic Exchange and Chamber of Shipping buildings, both of which were extensively damaged during a City of London bombing in 1992.

The Gherkin was designed by famed architect Norman Foster, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1999. He is also widely known for designing many other architecturally significant buildings and structures around the world, just some of which include:

  • London’s Millennium Bridge (1996-2000)
  • The redevelopment of the Great Court of the British Museum, also in London (1999)
  • The restored Reichstag building in Berlin (1999)
  • Hearst Tower in New York City (2006)
  • Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California, known as Apple Park (2017)

Another London project he is currently working on is known as The Tulip, a proposed glass structure to be perched a thousand feet above London atop a tall concrete support and meant as a compliment to the adjacent Gherkin building. It would include glass “gondola pods” revolving around the outside of the building’s summit, as well as a “glass chute” for people to slide down from one level to the next. However, standing at just over 305 meters once complete, it would fall just shy of London’s current tallest structure, The Shard, designed by Renzo Piano, which stands across The Thames at nearly 310 meters.

  • Visited: Sept 2017

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