30 St Mary Axe

“The prestigious Stirling Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in association with The Architects’ Journal was awarded on Saturday 16th October 2004 at a ceremony televised live on Channel 4. In an unusually unanimous decision, the judges awarded it to Foster & Partners, led by Sir Norman Foster, for the revolutionary 30 St Mary Axe, also known as the Gherkin and the Swiss Re Building (the unique shaped tower in left-centre in the photo), London’s first environmental skyscraper.

30 St Mary Axe is a revolutionary design, quite unlike anything else nearby, and there were many worries that it would not fit in well to its historic surroundings. In fact, its distinctive shape complements and enhances the London skyline rather than detracts from it. Perhaps critics would do well to remember that St Paul’s Cathedral was disliked by many when Sir Christopher Wren first drew up the plans. London is a vibrant, living city, not a museum so it needs modern buildings at the cutting edge of design, not only for their utility, but also as a legacy for future generations.”