Foster goes Deco, and reinvents the skyscraper. What are we to make of the "Gherkin"?

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Foster goes Deco, and reinvents the skyscraper. What are we to make of the "Gherkin"?

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Nov 17, 2003 3:34 pm

Foster goes Deco, and reinvents the skyscraper. What are we to make of the "Gherkin"?

In the interests of research, I have taken a jar of pickled gherkins out of my fridge and examined them closely. They do not look much like the new circular, tapering Lord Foster skyscraper at the epicentre of the City of London. They have blunter ends, tend to curl somewhat, are covered with warty excrescences, and are green. Foster's 30 St. Mary Axe tower, to give it its official name, is too sleekly, darkly, fatly mechanistic to be confused with your average cucumber-related fridge vegetable. But in the popular mind it is, and probably always will be, the Gherkin. Let's not fight it. Let's embrace it.

http://www.hughpearman.com/articles5/gherkin.html
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Postby alan d » Mon Nov 17, 2003 3:45 pm

very good point about the base of the building........lets it down slightly. Foster must recognise this for for I can't remember seeing it in print.

Clever, clever section though
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:55 pm

Now that its finished...

Return to the Gherkin: Lord Foster's organic tower in London opens for business, charms the nation, and is a harbinger of the future
29 April It is the most widely liked new building in Britain for decades, is attracting international attention, and incredibly it is an office tower. Office blocks are usually boringly formulaic, while towers (in Britain) have in the past been controversial at best, hated at worst. But this is not just any old speculative stack of floorspace. This is the curvaceous new landmark for London universally known as the Gherkin, designed by architect Lord Foster. The first new tower in the historic financial district for 25 years, and the harbinger of several more to come, it was officially launched to the world's media on April 27. The evening before, Foster had discovered to his astonishment that a remarkably similar structure had been proposed by none other than architect Sir Christopher Wren more than 300 years previously...

http://www.hughpearman.com/articles5/gherkin_b.html
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Postby aland » Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:26 pm

That Foster fellow, eh? What a laugh. Wren ripped it off from de Vinci....everyone knows that.

I think it's a genuinly original piece of work carried through with rigour from Foster.......as you might expect. I think the section, in particular is excellent and innovative. Funny that the American client said she did not mind it being called the gherkin.

Better than other sexual references she had heard. God, everything really is bigger in the States
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Postby PVC King » Thu Apr 29, 2004 9:19 pm

I really like it,

This building must give Londoners the same feelings of excitement as the Empire State and Chrystler buildings did in New York once.

But it really reinforces just how crude Irish attempts at high rise have been.
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Postby aland » Fri Apr 30, 2004 9:51 am

.....a bit odd at the base though. Like the building's sunk a bit so you have to ramp across level at the entrance. Requirement for handrails consequently seem a bit of a disappointment..
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Postby PVC King » Sat May 01, 2004 4:13 pm

I take your point the base is a little sloppy, but from a distance it is an excellent piece of work and the cladding is innovative and its form distinctive. Certainly an addition to the London Skyline
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Postby Hugh » Mon May 03, 2004 11:09 am

There's a sort of shallow dry moat around the base, which I think acts as a big gutter for rain sliding down the glass. Inboard of that is an ambulatory which runs right round the foot of the tower under cover.

Incidentally the number of hits on the Gabion site indicate that the Gherkin is stirring huge interest in the architectural community. It's bigger than Gehry, Libeskind, Hadid...
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Postby aland » Tue May 04, 2004 9:46 am

not surprised really............where does it stand as far as entry for the Stirling though? I'm sure Foster will want to get it nominated before the completion of the parliament building in Edinburgh.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2099-1084602,00.html

On a seperate note, articles in yesterday's Sunday Times and Observer indicate just how "superb" computer generated imagery has become. It is now impossible to seperate the montaged image from the original photograph.

http://www.newcityarchitecture.com/projects/featuredprojects.html

Is this a requirement in London?

Won't post Observer.............. bollocks, really.
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Postby Hugh » Tue May 04, 2004 12:21 pm

Shame they don't put the images on the Sunday Times website. Montage is almost worryingly good now, as you point out. I'll try and get some of it up on Gabion in the next few days.

The Gherkin certainly ought to win this years' Stirling, but then the Eden Project should have won a few years back and didn't...
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Postby aland » Wed May 05, 2004 9:14 am

seems to me it will be difficult to live up to the promise of the perspective .........Grimshaw's Minerva Building is particularly seductive, certainly in comparison to the muckle Rogers building or Piano or KPF.

http://www.newcityarchitecture.com/projects/project_13.html

To keep it so beautifully sheer and razor sharp and uniform will be difficult technically........will anyone ever carry out an audit, I wonder?

Grimshaw's proposals and indeed Rogers and KPFs and even Chipperfields proposals for Glasgow in comparison are so uninspiring........Foster has just won the contract for a new addition to the SECC.......maybe it'll stand comparison with the Gherkin but don't hold out much hope, frankly.
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Postby MG » Thu May 06, 2004 12:54 am

I liked this to begin with, and now I'm worried, as I'm already tired of it. Am I become blasse about buildings. Has the wham bam shock of all the Frank Libeshadid buildings worn me down?
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Postby aland » Thu May 06, 2004 4:31 pm

Funny you should lump Foster in with the Libeshadid crew MG, whose presentation of the idea represents the high point of their design, for me anyway.

Whatever you think of him as an architect, Foster's designs improve with the building of them. Consequently I think the Gherkin will be around and talked of for a long time, even if the base let's it down slightly.

Only hope he'll be taking his 10 inch roll and 4b's home to work on Glasgow over the weekend :)
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu May 06, 2004 4:36 pm

I got to admit that I like Foster's work.
Perhaps its because the first major modern building I was ever in outside of Ireland was Stansted, a few weeks after it opened. It was deserted and church-like and I spent a day in it, completely in love with it.
Really should scan the photos from that day - some beautiful views of the interior unspoiled by ugly mishapen people. Actually that's what I'm going to do next... maybe even today...
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Postby aland » Thu May 06, 2004 4:49 pm

Nothing wrong in that Paul, though I know what you mean.

Not that anyone gives a feck but I'm critical of his work often but the truth is it's judged on a more critical and higher level than everyone else's. Like for like, it is of an exceptional standard more often than not

Trouble comes when projects look like they have been handed down the line to the second and third team.........which I hope will not be the case in my city but fear it might be.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu May 06, 2004 4:51 pm

Well if Ken Shuttleworth took his team with him.....
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Postby aland » Thu May 06, 2004 4:59 pm

Well like you obviously, I've been told Shuttleworth was really the man. I guess we'll see how good he is, soon. One way or another.

Won't be the first or last person to fall on his arse after leaving with such acclaim.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu May 06, 2004 5:06 pm

Will be interesting to watch... I don't believe that we'll see a sustained drop in the quality of Foster's output - more of a glitch during the handover period until they replace the missing talent...
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Postby web_bod » Sun May 09, 2004 2:53 pm

It's a really imposing and handsome building - especially when you arrive at Tower Gateway stataion - only thing that lets it down are the vents - they could have been made less obvious - they look like holes in the building - it's a bit disconcerting the first time you see them...
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