Saturday, 24 April 2010

St Mary Axe

All of these pictures are taken from the same spot in St Mary Axe in the City of London and show the diversity of the London skyline.

Lloyds is a Richard Rogers building and was completed in 1986. Pipes, ducts and lifts are all exposed to maximise floor space within the building and allow maintenance to be conducted without disruption.

Lloyd’s insurance business dates back to 1860 and a coffee house in Tower Street where Edward Lloyd would meet with business men who had shipping connections. They would insure each others cargo and write their names under the ship owner’s slip. Hence the term ‘under-writers’.

The Heron Building, when completed in February 2011, will be the second tallest building in the country (until the Shard is completed) and the tallest in the City of London at 230 meters, 40 stores high. The top three floors will be restaurants and a sky bar with a roof top terrace providing London with it’s highest outside space.

Don’t know much about the Willis Building other than it is only 26 floors high but did cost an impressive £110 million to build.

The Gherkin and St Mary Axe.

The ‘Gherkin, or the Swiss RE building as it should be known, is a fantastic Norman Foster design. 41 floors high and costing £138 million to construct it contains 17 lifts and only 5 car parking spaces. I wonder who gets them. While the tower is wonderfully curved there is only one piece of curved glass in the entire building which is the piece that crowns it.

The original St Mary’s Axe Church was demolished in 1561 but the current building has been able to survive both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz. The name derives from the possession of one of three axes that beheaded St Ursula and her eleven thousand handmaidens in Cologne at the hands of the Huns, supposedly, in 383.

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  1. •The Willis Building is the fourth tallest building in the City of London. It is 125
    meters high or two and a half times the height of Nelson’s Column.
    •The Willis Building features 320,000 lettable square feet, with an additional
    50,000 square feet of space in the basement levels and has a maximum
    capacity of 2,700 people.
    •The adjacent Fenchurch Avenue Building comprises 120,000 lettable square
    feet and has a maximum capacity of 1,000 people.
    •Lloyd’s used to occupy the site of The Willis Building. The insurance market
    was at 51 Lime Street from 1958-1986, when it moved to 1 Lime Street.
    •30,000 people worked on the development from start to finish - 1,500,000
    man hours were needed to complete the project.
    •The building weighs 65,000 tonnes or the equivalent of 650 blue whales.
    •The piled foundations are 38 meters deep or the length of four and a half
    London buses.
    •Over 15,000 cubic meters of concrete were used in the construction of The
    Willis Building – enough to fill six Olympic swimming pools.
    •There are 5,500 tonnes of steel, the equivalent of 55 blue whales.
    •The overall area is 67,500 square meters, which is equal to 11 football
    •There are 21 high-speed lifts which move at speeds of 15 miles per hour.
    •There are 3,771 windows.
    What’s inside?
    •375 seat auditorium
    •6,000 square foot Wellness Center
    •4,000 square foot Associates’ terrace
    •2,500 square foot client terrace
    •200 bicycle / 90 motorbike / 30 automobile spaces in the parking garage
    •300 seat Associates restaurant – the One Flag Café, named after Willis’
    culture of global teamwork
    •40 seat private client dining room called the Client Advocate restaurant in
    recognition of Willis’ commitment to being a true advocate for its clients’
    •27 conference / dining rooms
    •Video conference room

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