maryThe capital of England, the London is a global city and one of the largest financial centers is overflowing with the great skyscrapers. Being a city of tall buildings, London includes lots and lots of skyscrapers such as One Canada square, crystal palace transmitter, 8 Canada square, 25 Canada square, and BT tower and so on. Distinguishably, London is enclosing a very well known skyscraper namely 30 St Mary Axe. The specialty of this 30 St Mary Axe is it is standing not only as a great skyscraper but also as a London’s first environmentally sustainable building. Let us pass through the salient features of this eco-friendly building.

30 St Mary Axe

30 St Mary Axe is also known as “Gherkin” and “Swiss Re Building”, is a 40-storey building with a height of 180metres tall. The construction of this building ended on December 2003 and this building was inaugurated on April 2004. 30 St Mary Axe provides a flexible space and spectacular view of the city and beyond. It is the London’s first environmentally progressive working atmosphere that offers an extraordinary place to work. The design of this building was done by Lord Foster, Ken Shuttleworth and Arup engineers and it was constructed by Skanska.

This 30 St Mary Axe uses many energy conversation methods that allow it to consume half the amount of energy consumed by a conventional building. The exterior of this building is totally covered by 24,000 meter glass arranged in diamond shaped panes. This tower consists of 23 lifts and a ground elevator lobby with three gently curved walled lobes. This tower is aerodynamically designed so as reduce the wind load on the structure. The lower part of the tower tapers leading the wind to go round the tower and reduces the occurrence of downdraught on the surrounding plaza.


The façade of this building is fully glazed with double skinned glasses. This glass façade is cooled by the air extracted from the offices that results in reducing the overall heat load of the building. This façade is designed in such a manner that it can provide a safe and very easy access to all internal and external glazing and the cleaning surface.


mary1Spiraling lightwells maximize natural ventilation whilst enabling the natural light to flood the interiors. This reduces the electric lightings, thus saving the electricity cost up to a notable extent. Windows of the lightwells open automatically, playing as a supplementary to the air conditioning system with the natural ventilation, which can save energy up to 40 percent per year.

The lightwells are glazed with openable double-glazed panels and a high performance coating which efficiently maximizes the solar ray penetrations. The highly decorative grey-tinted glass of the lightwells not only gives a gorgeous outlook but also reduces the solar gain to a maximum extent.

The office area incorporates the outer layer with double glazing and inner screen with single glazing. A ventilated cavity containing solar control blinds, sandwiched between the outer layer and the inner screen. This central ventilated cavity acts as a buffer which reduces the additional cooling and heating and gets ventilated by the exhaust air drawn from the offices in the building. This tower compromised many recycled and recyclable materials for its construction, wherever possible.


Gaps in each floor create six shafts which provide natural ventilation for the entire building. During summer, these shafts push out the warm air from the building and during the winter, it warms the building using passive solar heating. Shaft also allows the natural sunlight to penetrate inside the building, reducing the lighting cost.

By inhabiting various sustainable features as above this tower is sparkling as striking and eco-friendly skyscraper in the world. 30 St Mary Axe was honored with many awards. This tower earned the title of most admired new building in the world in December 2005, as per the survey of world’s largest firms of architects. In 2006, this building grabs the Civic Trust Award. On 21st Feb. 2007, IVG immobilien AG and UK investment firm Evans Randall completed their joint purchase of this building for GB£630 million.