The Gherkin (Present Day)

This is one of our most memorable visits since we have started Beyond the Point. Liam and I were given exclusive access to the very top of one of the worlds most icon landmarks, the Gherkin.


Being situated in the financial district of London, we were only 30 seconds away from the Lloyds building (which we might plan a visit to). Norman Foster, of the Foster and Partners architectural firm, was the man responsible for designing the building. The firm has worked on other famous buildings such as Wembley Stadium and London City Hall and are known for their innovative design approaches. The design of the Gherkin is heavily based around an energy efficiency design and the design of the glass icon represents this. Hence, the building only used half of the energy that a similarly sized tower would use. The website Design Book Mag says:

There were open shafts built in between each floor that act as ventilation for the building and they require no energy for use. The shafts pull warm air out of the building during the summer and use passive heat from.

The beginning of the Gherkin’s birth starts in 1992 as an explosion rocked the financial district of London. The Provisional IRA detonated an explosive device near the Baltic Exchange and catastrophically injured the building. The building was torn down and city officials decided to put a larger tower in its place. The Gherkin began as a much larger building that was dubbed the “Millennium Tower” but which failed to materialise. The original design of the building raised fears that it could negatively impact air traffic from Heathrow. There were also concerns that it may interfere with the sight-lines of St. Paul’s Dome from certain parts of the city. Once the original design was shot down, Norman Foster created the scaled-down version that now sits at 30 St Mary Axe.

Construction began in 2001 and the Gherkin was complete in December of 2003. It didn’t open for the public until almost half of a year later.

The Gherkin Today

With 41 floors, the tower is 180 metres high and we were lucky enough to get a view from the very top! Since completion, the building has won a number of prestigious awards including a RIBA Stirling Prize in 2004 and in 2005 it won the vote for the most admired new building in the world. It has also featured in films including Basic Instinct 2 and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. In September 2006, the building was sold for a staggering £630 million, making it Britain’s most expensive office building! Below is the BTP boys….”like a boss” The full set of our photos can be seen here. Please contact us for usage regarding our photos.

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This was a breath-taking visit and after having a nice lunch up there, we went on to the Grant Museum of Zoology afterwards, which will be covered in a desperate post, however I now leave you with our documentary on the sites.


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