Commendation

Office high-rise 30 St. Mary Axe, London

Architects: Foster and Partners, London
Developer: Swiss Re, Zurich

Office high-rise 30 St. Mary Axe, © photo: Nigel Young / Foster and Partners

This building created by Lord Norman Foster is an unexpected feature in London's old district and creates a sort of urban hallmark that has changed the city's silhouette. The architectural interplay of curved metal, glass and various colors creates a dynamic edifice. The interior is arranged such that it opens outwards via a triangular structure comparable with a metal network. The tower's circular footprint ensures that there is no severity in the relationship between the structure and the surrounding public space. The circular ground plan facilitates rather than obstructs a view of the surroundings. The building blends in smoothly with the angular face of the historic City of London.

The unusual shape of the building is intrinsically logical: as tubes, the triangular mesh contributes structure has a loadbearing function. Though from an ecological point of view an all-glass building is not ideal. Changing surface areas on the various floors may promote flexible usage, but also restricts the commercial return.

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