The Gherkin Building, 30 St Mary Axe, London | Architecture | Design
The Gherkin Building Tower Facts
30 St Mary Axe or commonly known as The Gherkin Building is a commercial complex (also popular for its restaurants) situated in the City of London. The construction of this skyscraper commenced in 2001, which was completed in December 2003.
The building opened up in April 2004 and immediately grabbed the nickname ‘egg shaped building’. The people of London have built a strong relationship with this architectural wonder of the 21st century.
This was made possible due to its distinctive design, as most commercial and office building have a more common design. The location and the size of this egg-shaped building are also a very distinct feature of the building.
With its cylindrical shape, bullet shaped top and carved walls, 30 St Mary Axe or The Gherkin can be easily recognized on London’s horizon. It’s a 41 story, and 591 feet (180 meters) tall skyscraper, with a floor area of 48,000 square metres (516,667 square foot). The building was designed by Norman Fosters and Partners Arup Group. The main contractor was the Skanska, which commenced the construction in 2001.
30 St Mary Axe Building Site and Materials Used
The Gherkin Building is one of the popular Landmarks of London and is very well known and recognised among the elite and middle-class people from the city. It is located at 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8EP, United Kingdom, which now has become an important site after this building sprung up.
The 30 St Mary Axe stands on the site where once Baltic Exchange stood. The building opened in 2004 as the headquarters of Swiss Re. The building’s round glass wall structure actually comprises of thousands of triangular glass panes. All of these triangular glass used in the structure are flat, only at the top of the building a glass lens is used which is curved.
The building provides space for offices, restaurants, and shopping stores. The amount of glass used in the building can cover more than four football pitches. Each floor in ‘The Gherkin” rotates at an angle of 5 degrees from the one below. The building provides a panaromic view of the City of London. The material used in the construction of the tower is mostly recycled or is recyclable.
30 St Mary Axe’s Design and Floor Plan
The building design included energy-saving methods, which allow the tower to consume less power and thus saving energy cost. The architectural gap in between the floors create shafts that act as the natural ventilation system for the structure. These shafts allow the sunlight to pass, making the building environment more pleasing.
The design of the top floor features a bar for tenants which provides a mesmerizing view of the City of London. The building consists of a total of 22 lifts. The maximum circumference and the height of the tower are approximately same, with the height being two metres more. The tower reaches its maximum width at 16th floor.
The building got featured in various films such as A good year, Basic Instinct 2 and much more. Later in 2006, the 30 St Mary Axe was put up for sale, on February 21, 2007, it was purchased by a joint effort of IVG Immobilien AG and investment firm Evan Randalls for £630 million, thereby making it one of the most expensive commercial building in Britain.
It was again put up for sale by the new owners, as they were unable to pay the loan payments. It was purchased by Joseph Safra, the owner of Safra Group, who paid £700 million for the building.
As of January 2015, the buildings has various tenants. The building is not open to public access apart from the shops and the plaza.