30 St Mary Axe Download PDF


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Height: Occupied
167 m / 548 ft
 
Height: To Tip
179.8 m / 590 ft
Height: Architectural
179.8 m / 590 ft
 
30 St Mary Axe Outline
Floors Above Ground
40
Floors Below Ground
1
# of Elevators
24
Top Elevator Speed
6 m/s
Tower GFA
64,470 m² / 693,949 ft²
# of Parking Spaces
272

Facts

Official Name 30 St Mary Axe
Other Names The Gherkin, Swiss Re Tower
Structure Type Building
Status Completed
Country United Kingdom
City London
Street Address & Map 30 St. Mary Axe
Postal Code EC3A 8BF
Building Function office
Structural Material steel
Proposed 1997
Construction Start 2000
Completion 2004
Official Website 30 St Mary Axe
Rankings Click arrows to view the next taller/shorter buildings
Regional Ranking #76 Tallest in Europe
National Ranking #10 Tallest in United Kingdom
City Ranking #10 Tallest in London

Companies Involved

Owner Evans Randall; IVG
Developer Swiss Re
Architect
Design Foster + Partners
Structural Engineer
Design Ove Arup & Partners
Peer Review BuroHappold Engineering
MEP Engineer
Design Hilson Moran Partnership Ltd.
Project Manager RWG Associates
Main Contractor Skanska
Other Consultant
• Environmental BDSP Partnership
• Marketing Wordsearch
• Property Management CBRE
• Wind RWDI
Material Supplier
• Cladding Lindner Group
• Elevator KONE
• Paint/Coating AkzoNobel
• Sealants Sika Services AG

About 30 St Mary Axe

The inaugural winner of the CTBUH 10 Year award, 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), helped to define a modern, open, and progressive image for one of the world’s oldest financial centers and set a benchmark in architectural quality for a new generation of tall buildings. The Gherkin has also been extraordinarily embraced by the public. In 2012, 3,000 people attended the Open City event to look inside, some queuing from 2am, with twice that number turned away. As well as appearing on a first-class stamp, the tower has been used extensively in the promotion of London through advertising, notably as the symbol of London on Olympic bid posters. The building is not only a cultural success, but a commercial one, consistently commanding higher rents than its peers in the City. Thus, the Gherkin more than satisfies the conditions for “contribution to culture / iconography.”

Under the engineering performance heading, the building’s tapering form and diagonal bracing structure have afforded numerous benefits that continue today: programmatic flexibility, naturally ventilated internal social spaces, and ample, protected public space at the ground level. The Gherkin has performed exceptionally well in high winds – its robust aerodynamic form counteracts the movement that would otherwise be felt in a building of its height. Environmentally, this form, which slims toward the base and the apex, creates external pressure differentials that are exploited to drive a system of natural ventilation during the summer months, and enabled the creation of a generous, comfortable plaza at street level, protected from high winds by the tower’s form.

The Gherkin’s accommodating structure has had follow-on benefits in the internal environment and occupant satisfaction category. Column-free floor plates, and a fully glazed façade open the building to light and views. Atria between the radiating fingers of each floor link vertically to form a series of informal break-out spaces that spiral up the building. As the occupancy has shifted from sole tenant to more than 14 firms, these “green lungs” have continued to provide valuable internal social space within the dense medieval street pattern of London. Six radial fingers of accommodation on each floor, with light wells between, combine the benefits of both curvilinear and rectilinear configurations, maximizing the proportion of naturally lit office space.

The geometry of the tower demanded an innovative system for the fabrication of individual cladding panels, due to the high level of variation. The 3D computer model of the system was linked directly to the production line, with major implications for the subsequent construction of complex buildings around the world.

The design placed a high priority on flexibility. Every possible configuration within the building, from cellular offices to entirely open plan floors, persists today. The widening and slimming profile generates a variety of floor plates that can respond to different sectors and markets.

The building is exemplary in terms of environmental and energy performance. The natural ventilation system operates by importing external air into the building through building management system (BMS)-controlled, motorized perimeter windows placed in each of the six lightwells. The adoption of natural ventilation varies, depending on tenant layout and requirements. Approximately 50 percent of occupants currently use the system.

An active, ventilated facade is used across the whole building. This comprises a low-emissivity, double-glazed clear external unit to the outside and a single-pane interior glass, separated by a ventilated cavity. Within the cavity are solar control blinds operated by the BMS. A proportion of office extract air is passed through the facade cavity, which takes the intercepted heat reflected by the blinds from the facade back to the outside via on-floor air handling units. This minimizes solar gain in the offices and makes the façade effectively part of the office extract system.

The pitch angle of the blinds is fixed by individual, BMS-controlled dedicated motors to an optimum position to reduce solar gain within the office spaces at all times, while maximizing light transmission through the gaps in the blinds. Ten years on, this system is operational and effective in providing user comfort, while reducing energy demand.

The Gherkin is not just an icon; it also provides a contribution to the urban realm beyond itself.
The outdoor space is another great success of the project, where the building’s contribution to the city has been most evident: the plaza is full of people in the summer, with food markets, city events and a dynamic arts program illustrating its success.

CTBUH Initiatives

CTBUH UH/UD 2017 Global Walking Tour
14 Jun-7 Jul 2017 – Event Invite

Canada Event Considers “The Story of Marketing Tall Buildings”
20 Jun 2017 – Event Report

CTBUH Sydney to Host Ken Shuttleworth Lecture
17 Aug 2016 – Event Invite

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CTBUH Initiatives Related to 30 St Mary Axe

Canada Event Considers “The Story of Marketing Tall Buildings”
20 Jun 2017, Toronto – Event Report
Building up momentum for the CTBUH 2017 Conference in Australia, the CTBUH Canada Chapter held its most recent event at the University of Toronto Faculty Club.
Ken Shuttleworth: A Journey of Design and Discovery
17 Aug 2016, Sydney – Event Report
CTBUH Sydney held a collaborative event with UNSW Built Environment, welcoming British architect Ken Shuttleworth, founder of Make, to Australia.
Warm Weather Spaces Walking Tours 2015
17 Sep 2015 – Tour Report
The CTBUH Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee organized guided walking tours of 16 cities around the globe, focusing on urban habitats around tall buildings.
Design, Cost and Return on Investment
23 Jan 2014, Toronto – Event Report
The chapter's fifth event included video presentations by Peter Rees, the Chief Planning Officer for London & a case study of The Gherkin by Kent Gardner, its owner.
30 St. Mary Axe Technical Tour Report
13 Jun 2013, London – Tour Report
Since its completion in 2004, 30 St. Mary Axe has become a firm favorite, referred to by Londoners as “The Gherkin.” Incorporating multiple green features it set a new standard for high-rise design in…
London Report: Bucking a Western Trend?
Jul 2011, London – Tour Report
Executive Director Antony Wood visited the UK in July for the inaugural meeting of a future CTBUH UK Chapter and other endeavors.

Global News

London’s Gherkin Put on the Market
29 Jul 2014 – One of London's most recognizable landmarks, the…

London’s Gherkin Faces Financial Pickle
25 Apr 2014 – The 40-story Gherkin office tower, one of the most…

Rooftop Oasis to Provide Green View for Surrounding Towers
17 Mar 2014 – Atop an eight-story office building on Leadenhall…

More News

News Related to 30 St Mary Axe

News Image
London’s Gherkin Put on the Market
29 Jul 2014
One of London's most recognizable landmarks, the Gherkin, otherwise known as 30 St. Mary Axe, has been put up for sale and is expected to be snapped up by an overseas…
News Image
London’s Gherkin Faces Financial Pickle
25 Apr 2014
The 40-story Gherkin office tower, one of the most iconic contributions to London’s skyline, is facing financial woes. The tower, officially known as 30 St Mary Axe, has…
News Image
Rooftop Oasis to Provide Green View for Surrounding Towers
17 Mar 2014
Atop an eight-story office building on Leadenhall Street, a two-story glass pavilion extension and gardens will provide a highly visible, green reprieve for onlookers…
News Image
Think Tank Predicts 236 Skyscrapers Will Sprout in London
13 Mar 2014
A recent study by New London Architecture (NLA) found that 236 towers over 20 stories tall are already proposed, approved, or under construction in London, with the…
News Image
Why Does a Stunning Skyscraper's Interior Often Disappoint?
5 Feb 2014
In a recent opinion piece, the matter was contemplated: why do spectacular skyscrapers, such as the Gherkin or Shard, often have lackluster interior space? Explored is…
News Image
Aggregate Paper Looks Deeply into 30 St Mary Axe's Design
18 Nov 2013
A recent academic paper, originally published on Aggregate's website, examines The Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners. Author Jonathan Massey…
News Image
Should Skyscrapers be Protected from Other Skyscrapers?
18 Jun 2013
At the CTBUH London Conference, Make Architects founding partner Ken Shuttleworth called for a designation of corridors to be put in place to protect views of The Gherkin…

Videos

From San Diego to Guangzhou: The Story of Marketing Tall Buildings
19 Oct 2016 – William Murray, Wordsearch

Interview: Cormac MacCrann
27 Oct 2015 – Cormac MacCrann, Canary Wharf Group

Constructing Tall Buildings in the European Context
12 Jun 2013 – Paul Chandler, Skanska

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Videos Related to 30 St Mary Axe

From San Diego to Guangzhou: The Story of Marketing Tall Buildings
19 Oct 2016 – Presentation at CTBUH 2016 China Conference; William Murray, Wordsearch
One of the keys to attracting buyers and tenants for a contemporary tall building is a succinct marketing strategy and a robust understanding of how to brand real estate…
Interview: Cormac MacCrann
27 Oct 2015 – 2015 New York Conference Interviews; Cormac MacCrann, Canary Wharf Group
Cormac MacCrann of Canary Wharf Group is interviewed by Chris Bentley during the 2015 CTBUH New York Conference at the Grand Hyatt New York. Cormac discusses about the…
Constructing Tall Buildings in the European Context
12 Jun 2013 – Presentation at CTBUH 2013 London Conference; Paul Chandler, Skanska
When creating tall buildings in cities with centuries worth of history, does the past take precedence or does the future? For a contractor or developer sensitive to the…
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12 Jun 2013 – Presentation at CTBUH 2013 London Conference; Bob Lang, Arup
Some sources predict that by 2050 the population will have reached nine billion; six to seven living in cities. This will be a generation of individuals whose lives have…
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11 Jun 2013 – 2013 London Conference Interviews; Vince Ugarow, Hilson Moran
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Matching Occupier and Landlord Needs: Supply and Demand in Tall Buildings
11 Jun 2013 – Presentation at CTBUH 2013 London Conference; Nigel Biggs & Nigel Smith, CBRE
As employee habits increasingly change and alternative workplace solutions become a reality, what do tenants want from their tall buildings and how is this affecting…
The Gherkin: Owning an Icon
11 Jun 2013 – Presentation at CTBUH 2013 London Conference; Kent Gardner, Evans Randall
30 St. Mary Axe, or the “Gherkin,” as it is more affectionately known, is arguably the most iconic tall building in existence in London. Embraced into national marketing…
Vital Signs, Vital Statistics – The Impact of Shape on Tower Economics
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Shape, more than anything, drives the cost of tall buildings; but to what extent does cost drive shape? The particular constraints of historic environments like London…
Embodied Carbon and High-Rise
21 Sep 2012 – Presentation at CTBUH 2012 9th World Congress, Shanghai; Philip Oldfield, University of Nottingham
This presentation examines the significance of embodied energy and carbon in tall buildings. It presents the life-cycle carbon analysis (including both operational and…
Interview: Marketing of Tall Buildings
19 Sep 2012 – 2012 Shanghai Congress Interviews; William Murray, Wordsearch
William Murray of Wordsearch is interviewed by Jeff Herzer during the 2012 CTBUH Shanghai Congress at the Jin Mao, Shanghai. William discusses the marketing of tall…
Selling Tall: The Branding and Marketing of Tall Buildings
19 Sep 2012 – Presentation at CTBUH 2012 9th World Congress, Shanghai; William Murray Wordsearch
Tall buildings are important brands – creating both value and recognition for the cities and countries that create them. We have a duty to ensure that the messaging,…
The Re-making of Mumbai: Search for an Appropriate Skyscraper Response
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In the early part of 2009, twelve students from the Illinois Institute of Technology, under the tutelage of Professor Antony Wood and working together with the Remaking…
How I Squeezed the Gherkin
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Research Papers

An Overview of Structural & Aesthetic Developments in Tall Buildings Using Exterior Bracing & Diagrid Systems
1 Dec 2016 – International Journal of High-Rise Buildings Volume 5 Number 4

The Emergence of the Diagrid - It’s All About the Node
1 Dec 2016 – International Journal of High-Rise Buildings Volume 5 Number 4

Remodel, Recycle or Rebuild? - Addressing the Fire Safety Challenges of Repurposing Skyscrapers
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An Overview of Structural & Aesthetic Developments in Tall Buildings Using Exterior Bracing & Diagrid Systems
1 Dec 2016 – International Journal of High-Rise Buildings Volume 5 Number 4; Kheir Al-Kodmany, University of Illinois; Mir M. Ali, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
There is much architectural and engineering literature which discusses the virtues of exterior bracing and diagrid systems in regards to sustainability - two systems…
The Emergence of the Diagrid - It’s All About the Node
1 Dec 2016 – International Journal of High-Rise Buildings Volume 5 Number 4; Terri Meyer Boake, University of Waterloo
The diagrid structural system for constructing tall buildings is a recent invention. Debuting in 2004 with the construction of the Swiss Re Tower in London, this…
Remodel, Recycle or Rebuild? - Addressing the Fire Safety Challenges of Repurposing Skyscrapers
17 Oct 2016 – Cities to Megacities: Shaping Dense Vertical Urbanism; Simon Lay, Olsson Fire & Risk
Some of our established world cities are already facing the challenge of older tall building stock that is no longer relevant to the most commercially attractive uses.…
The Promise of Public Realm: Urban Spaces in the Skyscraper City
26 Oct 2015 – Global Interchanges: Resurgence of the Skyscraper City; Stephan Reinke, Stephan Reinke Architects
This paper will reveal the importance of integrating the Ground Plane, Mid-Level and Rooftop Urban Public Spaces in the City. We will explore the NYLON New York/London…
From “Dry and Safe” to “Tall and Sharp” / Owning an Icon
Jun 2013 – Irvine Sellar, Sellar Property; Kent Gardner, Evans Randall
The owners of two of London’s most significant skyscrapers, Irvine Sellar of the Shard and Kent Gardner of the Gherkin, spoke with CTBUH about the challenges and rewards…
Selling Tall: The Branding and Marketing of Tall Buildings
Sep 2012 – CTBUH 2012 9th World Congress, Shanghai; William Murray, Wordsearch
Tall buildings are important brands – creating both value and recognition for the cities and countries that create them. The consequent pressures and responsibilities are…
Embodied Carbon and High-Rise
Sep 2012 – CTBUH 2012 9th World Congress, Shanghai; Philip Oldfield, University of Nottingham
This paper examines the significance of embodied energy and carbon in tall buildings. It presents the life-cycle carbon analysis (including both operational and embodied…
The Importance of Real Life Data to Support Environmental Claims for Tall Buildings
May 2011 – CTBUH Journal, 2011 Issue II; Joana Gonçalves, Universidade de São Paulo (FAUUSP); Klaus Bode, BDSP Partnership
One of the main causes of energy efficiency failures is LEED rewarding projects for their predictions, but not for proving the savings. The operation of buildings…
Sustainability and the Tall Building: Recent Developments and Future Trends
Jan 2010 – AIA Illinois Central Symposium; Mir M. Ali & Paul Armstrong, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
As a major energy consumer, the tall building does not ordinarily conjure images of sustainable design. But a new generation of tall buildings is incorporating new…
A Simplistic or Holistic Approach to Structural Fire Engineering?
Oct 2004 – CTBUH 2004 Seoul Conference; Colin Bailey, The University of Manchester
An elemental prescriptive approach, which is simplistic in nature, can be used to design buildings for structural fire safety. This paper presents the background to the…

Browse hundreds of other papers published by CTBUH members on a range of multi-disciplinary subjects in the Research Papers Library

CTBUH Awards

10 Year Award 2013 Winner
CTBUH Awards 2013


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