30 St Mary Axe – A responsive façade system


30 St Mary Axe or ‘The Gherkin’

30 St Mary Axe also known as the Gherkin, is London’s first environmental skyscraper. Designed by Foster+Partners, the building is located in the heart of the City of London, its distinctive form is an instantly recognizable addition to the skyline and has already become a landmark in Europe’s leading financial centre. The tower embodies a highly progressive environmental strategy, with its aerodynamic shape maximising the amount of natural lighting and ventilation to significantly reduce the building’s energy consumption. Equally important is its improved working environment with better views for everyone.


We imagined for the building to benefit from a responsive skin that reacted to the intensity of sunlight which in turn would  maintain ambient room temperatures and lighting through out the day. This façade system would act as an additional benefit for birds who are known to be fatally affected by the glare produced by glazed towers such as the Gherkin.

  1. Develop the form
  2. Create the diagrid structure
  3. Extract surfaces from the diagrid pattern

Form development

4. Use the surface to create a responsive skin

Responsive Façade system


The proposal from up top

The Gherkin- Reimagined

 30 St Mary Axe – A responsive façade system– Computational Design- Basics is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in Advanced Architecture in 2021/2022 ; Students: Disha Dineshchandra Shetty / Arunima Kalra ; Faculty: David Andres Leon / Ashkan Foroughi Dehnavi ; Assistant Laukik Lad  / Uri Lewis Torres