View Full Version : Swiss Re Tower - Gherkin or ??????

Bob Upndown
28th Apr 2004, 10:44
The newly opened Swiss Re Tower apparently looks like a gherkin.

One wonders whether Sir Norman Foster REALLY had a gherkin on his mind when he designed it :E :E

My ex-wife used to sell Ann Summers gear, I distinctly remember seeing items shaped like this in her stock box ;)


28th Apr 2004, 10:59
Is that bobbing little dolphin round the rear of the building then?

28th Apr 2004, 11:00
But it's cool and you can see it from b****y miles away. And who'd have thought about designing a building that looked like something out of a womans bedside cabinet. Good luck to Foster, that's what I say.

28th Apr 2004, 12:20
Ok, that was not meant to be a serious thread, but as a fan of Norman Foster's (http://www.fosterandpartners.com/internetsite/) work I feel compelled to add that I find it breathtakingly beautiful!

28th Apr 2004, 12:30
I pass the Gherkin on the train sometimes. The irony to me is that the Gherkin is a fantastic building, but owned by a Swiss bank, whereas Ken Poisonousbastard's Foster-designed building is a total and utter eyesore, and paid for by the taxpayer...

Sailor Vee
28th Apr 2004, 13:23
Having seen it only on the news, Flash Gordon's rocket springs to mind, (and not the one from his pocket).:E

Hersham Boy
28th Apr 2004, 13:37
This is a bl**dy marvellous building.

If only Foster & Partners could get a contract to replace some of the untold damage done to London architecturally in the 60s & 70s, like the South Bank/RFH!


Bob Upndown
28th Apr 2004, 14:36
I completely agree with the quality of Foster's vision and work - I was lucky enough to work at CLK during final commissioning - a truly stunning feat of architecture and construction.

As has been said, it's a breathtakingly beautiful, fantastic building.

But I still can't help feeling that the day Norm sketched the building out for the first time on that fag packet, he was a tad hung over after a huge night out with the boys and was harbouring happy memories of the time spent with that feisty lass he picked up at Stringfellows in the wee hours :E

And PLEASE! For goodness sake, no thread drift into seriousness :ok:

28th Apr 2004, 14:48
A splendid building indeed. I used to get off the train at Fenchurch street and marvel at it as it grew higher and higher. I don't know one person who hasn't commented on it.

28th Apr 2004, 14:48
The first time I saw this building I was with some of my English friends (ok, maybe they don’t claim me as a friend) and I couldn’t believe how out of place it seemed. I would expect to see such a building in maybe L.A., not my favorite city London.

I can’t write the terms and names my friends called it here in JB, but they were not, by any reach of the imagination could, be termed complimentary.

28th Apr 2004, 16:26
Who's going to be the first PPRuNer to drink in the guests only bar up there then?

28th Apr 2004, 17:09
As an Architect, I can appreciate the many technical innovations that this building incorporates within its envelope - it's designed to be aerodynamically efficient in order to stop vicious downdrafts common to more conventional straight edged buildings on windy days.

"Moreover, the wind-load on slab-sided towers demands heavy-duty structural engineering. Because the wind will flow around Swiss-Re like air over and under a plane's wing, currents will be swept away from and well above pavement level; and because they will caress rather than buffet the building, the structure can be made lighter than conventional towers." All very interesting, however, whilst I am an admirer of Fosters work, I have to question the irony of replacing a bombed building with a building shaped like a bomb!

Unfortunately, I think that this is Architecture self-consciously trying to be different without any regard or sympathy for it's surrounding environs & I feel that had the design not come from Sir Norman's office, it would have been rejected out of hand by the local authority.

As with everything, it's horses for courses, I've seen better work from his office in the past & I'm quite confident I will see better designs from his office in the future.

28th Apr 2004, 21:04
Fishtits (love the handle...)

I have a thing about architects, perhaps you can enlighten me...

I lectured in a college (in Dublin), that had an esteemed Faculty of Architecture. Said college built an extention, designed by Faculty of Architecture, loads of open spaces, funny angles etc. but I and most of my colleagues found it a nightmare to navigate, it had levels and half levels etc. etc.

I have a friend in Barcelona who comes from a long line of Architects, her apartment was designed by one, it includes a slippy, open stairway. Given my friends propensity for vino... what's wrong with a rail?

The place where I'm working at the moment (Addis) is a very large multi building compound, designed by Italian Architecs. The sun streams through my window in the afternoon, boiling me. The vertical slats on the exterior are effective in the morning and evening - when the sun is weakest, again you'd need a map to negotiate the building - (emergency evacuation???)

I can't help feeling that you guys design for one another - I'm a humble engineer and hence like functionality over form.

Lets hear from you guys! (Don't you dare call me a Phillistine!)


28th Apr 2004, 21:11
You could always MOVE to somewhere you like.Saves a fortune on Architects fees.Conversely get a revolving stool for the afternoons so you get a nice even tan.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
28th Apr 2004, 21:22
30 St Mary Axe. I love it! More like this, please.

Other architecture I like? The stations on the Jubilee Line extension.

Think they should have left the wobbley bridge as wobbley, though.


tony draper
28th Apr 2004, 21:28
The most hideous modern building must to to the bloody life center in Newcastle, god knows what its supposed to be but it looks like something gooey from the floor of a abatoir, like wise the new Music center or whatever its called across the river on the Gateshead quay,that looks like somebodies innards as well, why the hell don't they just build building with walls and a feckin roof,that model has worked quite well for the last thousand years or so.

28th Apr 2004, 21:35
Seriously(from me) the Victorians gave us some really good examples of what could be done with buildings.Lancashire has a plethora of good solid designs from that period.It is always a joy to see on some hilltop a Folly built with pride for a local dignitary,or the elegance of Bolton town hall.

High Wing Drifter
28th Apr 2004, 22:08
Yeah, I love the Gerkin too. I worked in the City and have enjoyed watching its progress. Can't wait for the Shard of Glass. That looks like an even more fabulous piece of fine architecture, not to mention that it will be the tallest buidling in Europe land.

29th Apr 2004, 06:17
Architects design castles in the air
Engineers have to build them
Psycotics live in them
Psychiatrists charge them rent :)

29th Apr 2004, 06:34
Another vote for the gherkin. I can see it from here as I type.

We call the GLA building the 'glass bollock'. Agree that it's [email protected]

29th Apr 2004, 09:05

It's the age-old Architectural battle between form and function - I know the building you talk of & the school of Architecture - It's not the one I attended so I'm not really in a position to criticise, I am however, qualified to critique :E ..... In my experience, the school you talk about has a tendency produce very flowery Architects (a wide brush I know) where form and aesthetics are the most important part of a design & being a school of Architecture (and possibly staffed by out of touch career academics) they HAD to create what they percieved to be a cutting edge design – that disappointingly didn't work...

IMHO, a building must serve the occupants and users of a building primarily whilst incorporating innovative & ecologically friendly construction techniques as well as beautiful aesthetics - this is the key to good architecture & why it's so difficult to produce. At the same time, it is practically impossible to produce a building that will satisfy all of the people all of the time. Good Architecture, by its very nature, is a balance between Art and Technology, form and function & people & their environment.

I agree that some Architects fall foul of the "Designing for peers" rather than the end user – these are egotistical twats who should know better, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

I like your comment about being an engineer & all the practicalities that entails, but a world designed by engineers, whilst everything would probably work brilliantly, would be a sterile, boring & uninspiring place to live IMHO.


tony draper
29th Apr 2004, 09:09
Perhaps the great mistake was to concider and treat architecture as a branch of the arts rather than a branch of engineering.
Whenever the world of the artist gets involved silliness ensues.

29th Apr 2004, 09:37
I used to live and work within sight of the Gherkin and was surprised at how quickly it went up. The City has some really good buildings - I used to work next door to that striped sandstone building at Bank. The bar on the roof was great in the Summer (Coq D'Argent from memory?)

My building, however, looked like the Borg spaceship from Star Trek if anybody knows what I'm talking about!

tony draper
29th Apr 2004, 10:40
I think as someone has already suggested that architects rather like the british movie industry makes movies to impress their peers also in the movie industry rather than for public consumption, design more and more outragious structures to impress other architects and these panels of architect groupies that sit on various panels to select new designs.

Windy Militant
29th Apr 2004, 12:34
Mr Tits

I like your comment about being an engineer & all the practicalities that entails, but a world designed by engineers, whilst everything would probably work brilliantly, would be a sterile, boring & uninspiring place to live IMHO.

Two words " Supermarine Spitfire"

Function and form, nuff said. ;)

29th Apr 2004, 13:15
Perhaps the great mistake was to concider and treat architecture as a branch of the arts rather than a branch of engineering.

Well my degree is a BAI, which is a Bachelor in the Art of Engineering!

BTW, saw the Gherkin a couple of months ago. Well impressed!

29th Apr 2004, 23:21
Have spent far too much time on the roof of a building right next to the Gherkin in the past year. It is an impressive building.

What confuses me is that for a building with supposed 'self cleaning' glass, they spend an awful lot of time over the edge washing the windows!:confused:

30th Apr 2004, 07:49
Looks like a rather nasty Zeppelin crash.

Round buildings are a bit of a bugga to work in, most furniture being square = wasted space.