30 St Mary Axe
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Architect Norman Foster
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Location London, England, UK   map
Date 2000 to 2004   timeline
Building Type commercial office tower, skyscraper
 Construction System glass cladding
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style High Tech Modern
Notes The Swiss Re tower, nicknamed the Gherkin for its tall, rounded, pickle-like shape.


Photo, exterior

Photo, exterior, with Foster's London City Hall in foreground



Contributions appreciated

Discussion 30 St Mary Axe Commentary

Said to be London's first environmentally sustainable skyscraper.

"Windows in the lightwells open automatically to augment the air conditioning system with natural ventilation, an occurrence anticipated to save energy for up to 40% of the year.

"The floorplans are shaped like flowers, with a circular perimeter indented by 6 triangular light courts. The indentations remain a constant size at each level, while the space between them diminishes.

"The floor plan is rotated for each successive floor, creating a series of spiraling 5-storey atria that stretch the full height of the building."

— Emporis, Inc.


Winner of the 2004 RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture.

41 floors. Height 180 m (590 ft)

Architect Foster and Partners
Structural Engineering Ove Arup & Partners
MEP Engineering Hilson Moran Partnership Ltd.
Interior Designer Benett Interior Design
Lighting Consultant Speirs and Major Associates
Acoustics Consultant Sandy Brown Associates LLP
Elevator Consultant Van Deusen & Associates
Facade Consultant Emmer Pfenninger Partner AG
Security System Consultant Videf Security Management Ltd.
Wind Surveyor Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc.
Developer Swiss Re
General Contractor Skanska UK
Project Management RWG Associates
Real-estate Agent DTZ Debenham Tie Leung
Elevator Supplier KONE United Kingdom
Facade Maintenance System Suppliers Lalesse Gevelliften BV, B. Teupen Maschinenbau GmbH
Facade Supplier Schmidlin (UK) Ltd.
Steel Suppliers Hollandia BV, Victor Buyck Steel Construction NV

Sources on 30 St Mary Axe

"Swiss Re Tower by Foster and Partners", by Don Barker, ArchitectureWeek No. 238, 2005.0504, pD1.1.

"Modeling the Swiss Re Tower", by Foster and Partners, ArchitectureWeek No. 238, 2005.0504, pT1.1.

Kenneth Powell. New London Architecture. london, UK: Merrell/St. Martin's Press. cover photo. — Available at Amazon.com

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