Call it what you want: "Gherkin," "The Cigar," "The Towering Innuendo," "30 St Mary Axe," or "Swiss Re Tower;" it looks like the insurance company, Swiss Re, has retained an agent to sell the place. The 40-story building is one of the most recognizable shapes in London’s financial district. Wanna guess the price? 600 million pounds ($1.1 billion dollars). Now, I don’t know real estate values in London, but even for New York or San Francisco office building real estate, I think that’s a high price. It’s worth it.
30 St. Mary Axe:
The building was designed by Norman Foster (also architect of WTC 200 Greenwich – the "four diamonds" building) and completed in 2004. It received the 2004 RIBA Stirling Price for Architecture and was nominated for a Bentley Award of Excellence. It was the first skyscraper to be built in The City for 25 years and stands tall at 590 feet. Known for its cylindrical facade and phallic shape, the building is even more revered for its state-of-the-art design features.
Advanced parametric modeling was used to reduce wind loads + turbulence and maximize natural light + ventilation exposure. Comparatively speaking, 30 St Mary Axe consumes 50% less energy than a traditional large office building. The building design allows for natural ventilation (a feature that can be used about 40% of the year).
There’s only one piece of curved glass in 30 St Mary Axe…guess where? The lens at the pinnacle of the structure. One could go on and on about the various technologies used in this building, but my post would get too long. For those interested, I’ve attached a list of some sources with more information.