Gherkin

50 years ago, a structure like this one would be hard if not impossible to build. Built as a combination of rarely used structural systems, complex building geometry and sophisticated sustainable HVAC systems, it needed to be realized through the extensive computer backed calculus. The building is celebrated to be highly energy efficient, having double glazing passive solar heating system, and open passive ventilation shafts system.

It was named by the company that had first commissioned, Swiss Re building, to be renamed 30St Mary Axe, but, for both for the Londoners and the visitors of the city, it will stay simply The Gherkin.

The Gherkin is built on the site of the listed Baltic Exchange building destroyed in an unfortunate event, and it had to be a landmark building. Its curious design using diagrid steel framework bent to form the shape of an extruded egg or pine cone is covered with planar glass triangles in two colors, with the pattern spiraling upwards. Actually, the whole building spirals, as every next floor is radially rotated 5 degrees.

There aren’t many similarly shaped towers. Only Torre Agbar of Barcelona shows remarkable similarities, as the other, proposed building, Torre Financiera in Panama City was never built. Well received by the public, well-proportioned by the architects Foster and Partners, this gem of architectural Organicism receives its rightful place among the symbols of London.

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