30 St Mary Axe – The Gherkin, London (2004)
This was the first office building to win the RIBA Stirling Prize and the first to be voted for unanimously by the Stirling judges.
The shape, which has been likened to a gherkin, is aerodynamic in form and maximises the amount of natural lighting. Windows onto the building’s atria also provide natural ventilation. The resulting office block uses 50% less energy than a conventional building.
Internally the ground floor lift lobby is suitably elegant, and the bar area at the top responds to the challenges and opportunities of elevation, situation and 360-degree views, making it one of the very best rooms in 21st century London. At last London is claiming back the vantage points that it deserves. If only security limitations allowed it to be publicly accessible…
Foster and Partners