|Foster and Partners|
1997 - 2004
& Partners' design for 30 St Mary Axe makes
a distinctive addition to the City of London skyline. The 40-storey tower is, says the architect, 'the capital's first environmentally progressive tall building'. The unusual form is both a consequence and a symbol of this fact.
The building's shape, structure and ventilation scheme all find a parallel in the class of sea creatures known as glass sponges. These have delicate, elongated exoskeletons. They filter nutrients from water they suck in at their base and expel from a hole at the top, just as Foster's tower circulates air.