2715
Global
Height rank

30 St Mary Axe

London
Height
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
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.

United Kingdom

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

London

Address

30 St. Mary Axe

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

30 St Mary Axe

Height
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

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
Occupied
Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest occupied floor within the building.
167.0 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

Top Elevator Speed
Top Elevator Speed refers to the top speed capable of being achieved by an elevator within a particular building, measured in meters per second.

6 m/s

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
#
2715
Tallest in the World
#
105
Tallest in Europe
#
18
Tallest in United Kingdom
#
17
Tallest in London
#
1194
Tallest Office Building in the World
#
42
Tallest Office Building in Europe
#
9
Tallest Office Building in United Kingdom
#
9
Tallest Office Building in London
#
237
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
Design

Usually involved in the front end design, with a "typical" condition being that of a leadership role through either Schematic Design or Design Development, and then a monitoring role through the CD and CA phases.

Structural Engineer
Design

The Design Engineer is usually involved in the front end design, typically taking the leadership role in the Schematic Design and Design Development, and then a monitoring role through the CD and CA phases.

Peer Review

The Peer Review Engineer traditionally comments on the information produced by another party, and to render second opinions, but not to initiate what the design looks like from the start.

MEP Engineer
Design

The Design Engineer is usually involved in the front end design, typically taking the leadership role in the Schematic Design and Design Development, and then a monitoring role through the CD and CA phases.

Other Consultant

Other Consultant refers to other organizations which provided significant consultation services for a building project (e.g. wind consultants, environmental consultants, fire and life safety consultants, etc).

Environmental
Property Management
Wind
Material Supplier

Material Supplier refers to organizations which supplied significant systems/materials for a building project (e.g. elevator suppliers, facade suppliers, etc).

Aluminium
Ceiling
Cladding
Elevator
Sealants
Owner
Current
J. Safra Sarasin Group
Past
IVG; Evans Randall; Swiss Re
Developer
Swiss Re
Architect
Design

Usually involved in the front end design, with a "typical" condition being that of a leadership role through either Schematic Design or Design Development, and then a monitoring role through the CD and CA phases.

Structural Engineer
Design

The Design Engineer is usually involved in the front end design, typically taking the leadership role in the Schematic Design and Design Development, and then a monitoring role through the CD and CA phases.

Peer Review

The Peer Review Engineer traditionally comments on the information produced by another party, and to render second opinions, but not to initiate what the design looks like from the start.

MEP Engineer
Design

The Design Engineer is usually involved in the front end design, typically taking the leadership role in the Schematic Design and Design Development, and then a monitoring role through the CD and CA phases.

Project Manager

The CTBUH lists a project manager when a specific firm has been commissioned to oversee this aspect of a tall building’s design/construction. When the project management efforts are handled by the developer, main contract, or architect, this field will be omitted.

RWG Associates
Contractor
Main Contractor

The main contractor is the supervisory contractor of all construction work on a project, management of sub-contractors and vendors, etc. May be referred to as "Construction Manager," however, for consistency CTBUH uses the term "Main Contractor" exclusively.

Skanska
Other Consultant

Other Consultant refers to other organizations which provided significant consultation services for a building project (e.g. wind consultants, environmental consultants, fire and life safety consultants, etc).

Environmental
Marketing
Wordsearch
Property Management
Wind
Material Supplier

Material Supplier refers to organizations which supplied significant systems/materials for a building project (e.g. elevator suppliers, facade suppliers, etc).

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: Humanizing the High-Rise

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

Life Cycle Analysis: Load-Bearing Structures Of High-Rise Buildings in Western Europe

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

30 July 2020

CTBUH In The Media: The Future of Skyscrapers: A Mile High, Slimmer Than Ever and Made from Wood

History does not want for dizzying fantasies of tall buildings. From the Tower of Babel onwards, humanity has dreamed of ever-more wondrous skyscrapers, whether we...

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: Humanizing the High-Rise

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

From San Diego to Guangzhou: The Story of Marketing Tall Buildings

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

Interview: Cormac MacCrann

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

Constructing Tall Buildings in the European Context

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

Stepping Stones to 2050

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

Interview: Building Systems

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...

11 June 2013 | London

Interview: Heritage and Future of London Tall Buildings

Kamran Moazami of WSP Group is interviewed by Jeff Herzer during the 2013 CTBUH London Conference at The Brewery, London. Kamran discusses the history of...

11 June 2013 | London

Matching Occupier and Landlord Needs: Supply and Demand in Tall Buildings

As employee habits increasingly change and alternative workplace solutions become a reality, what do tenants want from their tall buildings and how is this affecting...

11 June 2013 | London

The Gherkin: Owning an Icon

30 St. Mary Axe, or the “Gherkin,” as it is more affectionately known, is arguably the most iconic tall building in existence in London. Embraced...

11 June 2013 | London

Vital Signs, Vital Statistics – The Impact of Shape on Tower Economics

Shape, more than anything, drives the cost of tall buildings; but to what extent does cost drive shape? The particular constraints of historic environments like...

29 July 2019

Life Cycle Analysis: Load-Bearing Structures Of High-Rise Buildings in Western Europe

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

An Overview of Structural & Aesthetic Developments in Tall Buildings Using Exterior Bracing & Diagrid Systems

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

The Emergence of the Diagrid - It’s All About the Node

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

Remodel, Recycle or Rebuild? - Addressing the Fire Safety Challenges of Repurposing Skyscrapers

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

The Promise of Public Realm: Urban Spaces in the Skyscraper City

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

From “Dry and Safe” to “Tall and Sharp” / Owning an Icon

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...

21 September 2012

Selling Tall: The Branding and Marketing of Tall Buildings

William Murray, Wordsearch

Tall buildings are important brands – creating both value and recognition for the cities and countries that create them. The consequent pressures and responsibilities are...

19 September 2012

Embodied Carbon and High-Rise

Philip Oldfield, University of Nottingham

This paper examines the significance of embodied energy and carbon in tall buildings. It presents the life-cycle carbon analysis (including both operational and embodied emissions)...

01 May 2011

The Importance of Real Life Data to Support Environmental Claims for Tall Buildings

Joana Gonçalves, Universidade de São Paulo (FAUUSP); Klaus Bode, BDSP Partnership

One of the main causes of energy efficiency failures is LEED rewarding projects for their predictions, but not for proving the savings. The operation of...

01 January 2010

Sustainability and the Tall Building: Recent Developments and Future Trends

Mir M. Ali & Paul Armstrong, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

As a major energy consumer, the tall building does not ordinarily conjure images of sustainable design. But a new generation of tall buildings is incorporating...

30 July 2020

CTBUH In The Media: The Future of Skyscrapers: A Mile High, Slimmer Than Ever and Made from Wood

History does not want for dizzying fantasies of tall buildings. From the Tower of Babel onwards, humanity has dreamed of ever-more wondrous skyscrapers, whether we...

06 August 2019

London Skyscraper in Question as Investor Pulls Out

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

Planning Permission for Proposed Tower Rejected by London Mayor

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

Tulip Tower Set for City of London Approval

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…

11 June 2013

Activity at the CTBUH London Conference: Day One

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

17 July 2011

London Report: Bucking a Western Trend?

Executive Director Antony Wood visited the UK in July for the inaugural meeting of a future CTBUH UK Chapter and other endeavors.