30 St. Mary Axe, “The Gherkin”
Foster + Partners
The pickle-shaped 30 St. Mary Axe owes its bulging and tapering structure to a diagrid steel framework like that of the Hearst Tower, which allows the perimeter to remain column-free. Its aerodynamic profile reduces wind load and creates a difference in air pressure between the inside and outside that draws cooler outdoor air in through panels in the façade. Thanks to this and other features, like abundant natural light, the building consumes as little as half as much energy as other office buildings its size.
Credit: Grant Smith/View/Estostock
Credit: Jason Hawkes/Corbis