The Gherkin

by Abigail Meadows

30 St Mary Axe

30 St Mary Axe, more often called the Gherkin is an eye catching and prominent modern building in London, England.
The Gherkin was built in 2004, commissioned by Swiss Re, a reinsurance company. The 41 story building was designed in glass and steel by Foster and Partners. It was named the Swiss Re Building but when Swiss Re sold it, it was renamed 30 St Mary Axe (its address). It was dubbed the "Gherkin" because of its distinctive shape.


The Gherkin has a steel frame with circular floor plans. It has glass diamond shaped panels. The swirling striped pattern is the result of an energy saving system that allows air to flow upward.

Why it was Built

In 1992 the Baltic Exchange Building (built in 1903) was damaged by a terrorist attack. 30 St Mary Axe was built to replace it.

It is a major financial office building. It is popular because of its amazing architecture.