30 St Mary Axe
London
Height

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment. This measurement is the most widely utilized and is employed to define the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) rankings of the "World's Tallest Buildings."

1
To Tip:

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest point of the building, irrespective of material or function of the highest element (i.e., including antennae, flagpoles, signage and other functional-technical equipment).

179.8 m / 590 ft
2
Architectural:

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment. This measurement is the most widely utilized and is employed to define the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) rankings of the "World's Tallest Buildings."

179.8 m / 590 ft
3
Occupied:

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest occupied floor within the building.

167 m / 548 ft
1 2 3 30 St Mary Axe Outline
Floors

The number of floors above ground should include the ground floor level and be the number of main floors above ground, including any significant mezzanine floors and major mechanical plant floors. Mechanical mezzanines should not be included if they have a significantly smaller floor area than the major floors below. Similarly, mechanical penthouses or plant rooms protruding above the general roof area should not be counted. Note: CTBUH floor counts may differ from published accounts, as it is common in some regions of the world for certain floor levels not to be included (e.g., the level 4, 14, 24, etc. in Hong Kong).

Above Ground

The number of floors above ground should include the ground floor level and be the number of main floors above ground, including any significant mezzanine floors and major mechanical plant floors. Mechanical mezzanines should not be included if they have a significantly smaller floor area than the major floors below. Similarly, mechanical penthouses or plant rooms protruding above the general roof area should not be counted. Note: CTBUH floor counts may differ from published accounts, as it is common in some regions of the world for certain floor levels not to be included (e.g., the level 4, 14, 24, etc. in Hong Kong).

40
Below Ground

The number of floors below ground should include all major floors located below the ground floor level.

1
Height 179.8 m / 590 ft
Floors 40
Official Name

The current legal building name.

30 St Mary Axe
Other Names

Other names the building has commonly been known as, including former names, common informal names, local names, etc.

The Gherkin, Swiss Re Tower
Type

CTBUH collects data on two major types of tall structures: 'Buildings' and 'Telecommunications / Observation Towers.' A 'Building' is a structure where at least 50% of the height is occupied by usable floor area. A 'Telecommunications / Observation Tower' is a structure where less than 50% of the structure's height is occupied by usable floor area. Only 'Buildings' are eligible for the CTBUH 'Tallest Buildings' lists.

Building
Status
Completed
Architecturally Topped Out
Structurally Topped Out
Under Construction
Proposed
On Hold
Never Completed
Vision
Competition Entry
Canceled
Proposed Renovation
Under Renovation
Renovated
Under Demolition
Demolished
Completed, 2004
Country

The CTBUH follows the United Nations's definition of Country, and thus uses the lists and codes established by that organization.

City

The CTBUH follows the United Nations's definition of City, and thus uses the lists and codes established by that organization.

Address
Postal Code
EC3A 8BF
Function

A single-function tall building is defined as one where 85% or more of its usable floor area is dedicated to a single usage. Thus a building with 90% office floor area would be said to be an "office" building, irrespective of other minor functions it may also contain.

A mixed-use tall building contains two or more functions (or uses), where each of the functions occupy a significant proportion of the tower's total space. Support areas such as car parks and mechanical plant space do not constitute mixed-use functions. Functions are denoted on CTBUH "Tallest Building" lists in descending order, e.g., "hotel/office" indicates hotel function above office function.

office
Structural Material

Steel
Both the main vertical/lateral structural elements and the floor spanning systems are constructed from steel. Note that a building of steel construction with a floor system of concrete planks or concrete slab on top of steel beams is still considered a “steel” structure as the concrete elements are not acting as the primary structure.

Reinforced Concrete
Both the main vertical/lateral structural elements and the floor spanning systems are constructed from concrete which has been cast in place and utilizes steel reinforcement bars.

Precast Concrete
Both the main vertical/lateral structural elements and the floor spanning system are constructed from steel reinforced concrete which has been precast as individual components and assembled together on-site.

Mixed-Structure
Utilizes distinct systems (e.g. steel, concrete, timber), one on top of the other. For example, a steel/concrete indicates a steel structural system located on top of a concrete structural system, with the opposite true of concrete/steel.

Composite
A combination of materials (e.g. steel, concrete, timber) are used together in the main structural elements. Examples include buildings which utilize: steel columns with a floor system of reinforced concrete beams; a steel frame system with a concrete core; concrete-encased steel columns; concrete-filled steel tubes; etc. Where known, the CTBUH database breaks out the materials used in a composite building’s core, columns, and floor spanning separately.

steel
Official Website
Height

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment. This measurement is the most widely utilized and is employed to define the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) rankings of the "World's Tallest Buildings."

Architectural
179.8 m / 590 ft
To Tip
179.8 m / 590 ft
Occupied
167 m / 548 ft
Floors Above Ground

The number of floors above ground should include the ground floor level and be the number of main floors above ground, including any significant mezzanine floors and major mechanical plant floors. Mechanical mezzanines should not be included if they have a significantly smaller floor area than the major floors below. Similarly, mechanical penthouses or plant rooms protruding above the general roof area should not be counted. Note: CTBUH floor counts may differ from published accounts, as it is common in some regions of the world for certain floor levels not to be included (e.g., the level 4, 14, 24, etc. in Hong Kong).

40
Floors Below Ground

The number of floors below ground should include all major floors located below the ground floor level.

1
# of Parking Spaces

Number of Parking Spaces refers to the total number of car parking spaces contained within a particular building.

272
# of Elevators

Number of Elevators refers to the total number of elevator cars (not shafts) contained within a particular building (including public, private and freight elevators).

24
Tower GFA

Tower GFA refers to the total gross floor area within the tower footprint, not including adjoining podiums, connected buildings or other towers within the development.

64,470 m² / 693,949 ft²
Rankings
#
99
Tallest in Europe
#
15
Tallest in United Kingdom
#
14
Tallest in London
#
40
Tallest Office Building in Europe
#
9
Tallest Office Building in United Kingdom
#
9
Tallest Office Building in London
#
235
Tallest Steel Building in the World
#
7
Tallest Steel Building in Europe
#
4
Tallest Steel Building in United Kingdom
#
4
Tallest Steel Building in London
Construction Schedule
1997

Proposed

2000

Construction Start

2004

Completed

Architect
Structural Engineer
MEP Engineer

Environmental

Property Management

Wind

Aluminium

Ceiling

Cladding

Elevator

Sealants

Owner

Current

J. Safra Sarasin Group

Past

IVG; Evans Randall; Swiss Re
Developer
Swiss Re
Architect
Structural Engineer
MEP Engineer
RWG Associates
Contractor
Skanska

Environmental

Marketing

Wordsearch

Property Management

Wind

Aluminium

Ceiling

Cladding

Elevator

Paint/Coating

AkzoNobel

Sealants

CTBUH Awards & Distinctions

10 Year Award 2013 Winner

2013 CTBUH Awards

CTBUH Initiatives

Canada Event Considers “The Story of Marketing Tall Buildings”


20 June 2017 - Event

Ken Shuttleworth: A Journey of Design and Discovery


17 August 2016 - Event

Videos

30 October 2017 | London

Quay Quarter Tower (QQT) will create a stunning new building on the Sydney skyline that sets new benchmarks in office tower design globally and creates...

Research

29 July 2019

Gerran J. Lankhorst, Royal HaskoningDHV; Karel C. Terwel, IMd Raadgevende Ingenieurs; Janko Arts, Royal HaskoningDHV; Henk Jonkers, Delft University of Technology

The choice of structural system has a big influence on the environmental impact of structural materials in tall building design. This paper provides a comparison...

Global News

24 October 2019 | London

Foggo Associates has designed a curved high-rise in central London at 70 St Mary Axe, which is widely known as the “Can of Ham” due...

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 Awards & Distinctions

10 Year Award 2013 Winner

2013 CTBUH Awards

30 October 2017 | London

Quay Quarter Tower (QQT) will create a stunning new building on the Sydney skyline that sets new benchmarks in office tower design globally and creates...

19 October 2016 | London

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...

27 October 2015 | London

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...

12 June 2013 | London

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...

12 June 2013 | London

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...

11 June 2013 | London

Vince Ugarow of Hilson Moran is interviewed by Jeff Herzer during the 2013 CTBUH London Conference at The Brewery, London. Vince talks about building systems...

29 July 2019

Gerran J. Lankhorst, Royal HaskoningDHV; Karel C. Terwel, IMd Raadgevende Ingenieurs; Janko Arts, Royal HaskoningDHV; Henk Jonkers, Delft University of Technology

The choice of structural system has a big influence on the environmental impact of structural materials in tall building design. This paper provides a comparison...

01 December 2016

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 which...

01 December 2016

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,...

17 October 2016

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...

26 October 2015

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...

12 June 2013

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...

24 October 2019 | London

Foggo Associates has designed a curved high-rise in central London at 70 St Mary Axe, which is widely known as the “Can of Ham” due...

06 August 2019 | London

Asian developer Perennial Real Estate Holdings has dealt a blow to Eric Parry Architects’ approved plans to build the tallest building in the City of...

16 July 2019 | London

London mayor Sadiq Khan has refused the Foster + Partners designed Tulip Tower saying the 304-meter-tall tourist attraction could harm the city’s skyline. Overturning the...

27 March 2019 | London

City of London planning officers have recommended approval for Foster + Partners’ opinion-splitting Tulip on a site next to the Gherkin. The planned 305-meter-tall tourist...

20 June 2017

Canada Event Considers “The Story of Marketing Tall Buildings”

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.

17 August 2016

Ken Shuttleworth: A Journey of Design and Discovery

CTBUH Sydney held a collaborative event with UNSW Built Environment, welcoming British architect Ken Shuttleworth, founder of Make, to Australia.

17 September 2015

Warm Weather Spaces Walking Tours 2015

The CTBUH Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee organized guided walking tours of 16 cities around the globe, focusing on urban habitats around tall buildings.

23 January 2014

Design, Cost and Return on Investment

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.

13 June 2013

30 St. Mary Axe Technical 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 and beyond.

13 June 2013

Activity at the CTBUH London Conference: Day Three

Tall Building Industry Gathers in London See the highlights from the tall building event of the year…