May 02, 2004
The Gherkin opened last week

Yes, I missed this report from last Wednesday.

The Gherkin, more formally know as the Swiss Re Tower or 30 St Mary Axe, has slipped so easily into the London skyline that it comes as a shock to discover that it officially opened only yesterday. That is the trouble with a very, very tall building. It takes so long to go up that, by the time it is finished, you feel you’ve known it for ever.

GherkFoster.jpgBuilt in the heart of the City of London, the Gherkin was Norman Foster's second attempt at a skyscraper on the site. The first was a massive affair that would have dwarfed Tower 42 (formerly the NatWest tower), then the tallest building in the City, and reduced the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral to a pimple. This building, which did have the feel of a rather knobbly gherkin, was rejected by the planners. But Foster, ever the pragmatist, came back with a revised scheme, deliberately marginally lower than Tower 42.

Interesting. I wonder what the original looked like. The implication is that it might have been more dominant, but not as elegant. Anyone have a link to what Plan A looked like?

Quite why "Tower 42" is thought to deserve all this cosseting, I have no idea.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:51 PM
Category: Architecture