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Who knew Gherkins were so aerodynamic

Lately I’ve been learning a lot about wind and how certain building forms can create dramatically different microclimates.

In light of this, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the 30 St Mary Axe tower in London (colloquially known as “the Gherkin”). I’ve always been a fan and I was well aware of its sustainability initiatives, but I didn’t fully grasp how much wind played a role in its design.

Because of its cylindrical shape and the fact that the tower tapers as you move towards the top, the bulk of the wind hitting the building either flows around it or gets pushed upwards, towards the sky. This is in contrast to a typical square or rectangular building where the bulk of the wind often gets pushed down towards street level.


The benefit of this is that it obviously creates a more pleasant environment for pedestrians at street level. However, in addition to this, it also means that the wind loads against the building were brought down to a minimum and so the structure of the building could also be reduced. 

This is the kind of architecture I love: architecture that performs.

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