30 St Mary Axe

Swiss Re Headquarter London / United Kingdom / 2004

37
37 Love 10,221 Visits Published
London’s first ecological tall building and an instantly recognisable addition to the city’s skyline, this headquarters for Swiss Re is rooted in a radical approach − technically, architecturally, socially and spatially. Forty-one storeys high, it provides 46,400 square metres net of office space together with an arcade of shops and cafés accessed from a newly created piazza. At the summit is a club room that offers a spectacular 360-degree panorama across the capital. Generated by a circular plan, with a radial geometry, the building widens in profile as it rises and tapers towards its apex. This distinctive form responds to the constraints of the site: the building appears more slender than a rectangular block of equivalent size and the slimming of its profile towards the base maximises the public realm at street level. Environmentally, its profile reduces wind deflections compared with a rectilinear tower of similar size, helping to maintain a comfortable environment at ground level, and creates external pressure differentials that are exploited to drive a unique system of natural ventilation. Conceptually the tower develops ideas explored in the Commerzbank and before that in the Climatroffice, a theoretical project with Buckminster Fuller that suggested a new rapport between nature and the workplace, its energy-conscious enclosure resolving walls and roof into a continuous triangulated skin. Here, the tower’s diagonally braced structure allows column-free floor space and a fully glazed facade, which opens up 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. These spaces are a natural social focus – places for refreshment points and meeting areas – and function as the building’s ‘lungs’, distributing fresh air drawn in through opening panels in the facade. This system reduces the building’s reliance on air conditioning and together with other sustainable measures, means that it uses only half the energy consumed by a conventionally air-conditioned office tower. [IT] L’opera di Foster prende ufficialmente il nome dalla strada in cui sorge, “30 St Mary Axe”, nel cuore di Londra. Ma è anche nota come “Swiss Re Tower” dall’azienda che l’ha commissionata e che vi ha sede. Completata all’inizio del 2004, la torre di 40 piani di Foster è diventata uno degli edifici più riconoscibili nello skyline di Londra, non solo per la sua audacia estetica, ma anche per l’adozione di innovative soluzioni a basso consumo energetico. La struttura è infatti testimonianza di una profonda sensibilità al problema della sostenibilità ambientale: la sua forma conica aerodinamica e le facciate ventilate con pozzi luce che salgono a spirale lungo la costruzione, consentendo l’ottimizzazione delle risorse di luce naturale, riducono considerevolmente il consumo energetico dell’edificio (circa il 50% rispetto ad una struttura tradizionale). L’intera copertura è divisa in blocchi da sei oppure da due piani. Gli spazi a ridosso dell’involucro (che portano ad un atrio o ad un giardino) diventano, pertanto, disponibili e leggibili luoghi di soggiorno, in serie da due o da sei piani. Il tipico piano dove trovano spazio gli uffici è diviso in sei blocchi rettangolari, inframezzati da aree di servizio dalla forma triangolare. Tale sistema cambia man mano che ci si sposta sui piani più alti, dove la geometria dell’edificio comincia a restringersi. Audace intervento all’interno del paesaggio urbano, 30 St Mary Axe promuove anche l’integrazione della vita urbana con negozi, caffè ed un ristorante.
37 users love this project
Comments
    comment
    Enlarge image

    London’s first ecological tall building and an instantly recognisable addition to the city’s skyline, this headquarters for Swiss Re is rooted in a radical approach − technically, architecturally, socially and spatially. Forty-one storeys high, it provides 46,400 square metres net of office space together with an arcade of shops and cafés accessed from a newly created piazza. At the summit is a club room that offers a spectacular 360-degree panorama across the capital. Generated by a circular...

    Project details
    • Year 2004
    • Work finished in 2004
    • Client Swiss Re
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Business Centers / Corporate Headquarters
    Lovers 37 users