The Gherkin or formally known as the 30 St Mary Axe is a colossal skyscraper decorating the skylines of city of London magnificently. The giant structure is situated on the site of Baltic Exchange, designed by the master mind Norman Foster and built by the dexterous hands of Skanska’s expert team. It depicts the best characteristics of contemporary architecture of modern times.
Confining ourselves strictly to the structural design of the building, it is recognized that commendable efforts have been laid by the designers to bring into a life a building that sustains on a radical approach feasting on important pillars of designs in terms of technicality, spatiality, socially and architecturally. The building in entirety consists of 41 storey’s, 18 passenger lifts, a massive dome engulfing in an area that designs office compartments in a way that seem to represent an idea of a city existing within a city.
The main theme shaping the construction plan of 30 St Mary Axe is the sustainable method of energy saving. The shape of the tower is erected aerodynamically so that it could efficiently exploit every iota amount of physical environment present around it. The lower part of the building tapers helps in engulfing the surrounding wind and directs it to the insides of the tower, creating natural ventilation for the entire 252 feet long building. Sufficient amount of spacing and gaps are left in two consecutive floors, leading to formation of six shafts in between them that facilitate a good ventilation system. A design such as this one helps in saving 50% of total energy consumed, by an otherwise similar sized building.
Furthermore, the concept of effective double glazing is used a lot in the entire premise. Architects have a preference towards double glazing so as to do away with the inefficiency of heat convection. The above mentioned shafts here provide this effect and help insulate the interiors of the building from the heat outside.
While in summers the shafts drives out the excess of heat from the building to the outside, a contrary mechanism works in winters- where the passive solar heating assists the outside heat to stay confined inside the building walls.
Just as the heat mechanism works the use of glass panels on the roof and the sides lets in adequate amount of sunlight into the building giving out appropriate amount of illumination in the office Cabins. This system not only gives birth to a pleasant working environment but also cuts down the cost of lighting substantially.
To give the building the tensile strength it possesses that stands against all odds is its complete triangulated structure in the perimeters that are accompanied by synchronized mass dumpers. Furthermore, each floor of the building is reserved for specific purposes.
The top floor is the most mesmerizing as it provides an individual with a 360 degree view of London skyline. This floor consists of a bar for guests and tenants. Following this, there is an array of classic restaurants on the lower floor with flawless dining areas present underneath this floor. This place is a must to visit on your detour to the city!