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Thursday24 July 2014

The Gherkin deserves protected views, says Ken Shuttleworth

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Gherkin is the St Paul’s Cathedral of the future, says architect

Ken Shuttleworth has called for new viewing corridors to be introduced to protect the Gherkin from a new generation of towers springing up in London.

The Make chief likened the tower to St Paul’s Cathedral, which is the subject of a number of protected vistas stretching across London, and said it should be listed.

The Swiss Re headquarters needs official protection to stop it from being shrouded by new developments, he said.

It was one of the St Paul’s viewing corridors that dictated the distinctive wedge shape of Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners’ Cheesegrater, a building that now almost obliterates views of the Gherkin from Blackfriars Bridge.

Shuttleworth’s views are bound to spark controversy since he was part of the team at Foster & Partners that designed 30 St Mary Axe. Questions of its authorship have rumbled on ever since he left the practice to set up on his own.

St Paul's Cathedral

Source: Creative commons

St Paul’s Cathedral

Speaking about the future of tall buildings in the wake of Unesco’s concerns about London’s heritage, he said: “The best future St Paul’s will be the Gherkin.

“I think it will be listed, perhaps not now but in 20 years’ time. I think it should be protected. People should be mapping out those invisible lines for the Gherkin. It’s a fantastic icon and for its time it’s really energy-efficient.”

Speaking at the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat conference, he also praised the Shard, a building he has previously predicted will be torn down and replaced in a matter of years.

Shuttleworth also predicted the next generation of towers will be more rational than those currently being built because they were all designed before the crash.

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Readers' comments (18)

  • Too late. The classic long views of the Gherkin have already gone, mostly because of the Heron Tower.

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  • The concept of viewing corridors is outdated and no longer applicable to a dynamic and bustling city like London. If you want to see St Paul's, you can go there, it even has it's own tube station. There is no reason why its view from places far away like Richmond park should be protected.

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  • The closer you get to St Pauls, the more detail you can see and the more interesting it becomes. The best place to see the Gherkin is from a long, long way away. Is this why Mr Shuttleworth is suggesting a long view should be protected?

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  • From my desk in Sheffield I can't see either.
    This isn't a problem.

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  • No doubt densities and development ambitions will rise to a threshold whereby it will be an attractive proposition to demolish the Gherkin and build something bigger and impossibly, brasher!! It is an ugly, phallic Seifertian monument to the financial mendacity that has screwed us all ??!!!!! I am confident Steve Green will advise us, in the not too distant future, when this moment is upon us! Look what is happening to Broadgate : thanks to Shuttleworth!!!!

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  • yeah..but he thought this was a good addition to the London skyline so who's listening?
    http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/daily-news/make-wins-go-ahead-for-city-road-resi-tower/8642575.article

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  • Speaking of "modern" buildings that are deserving of protection, Battersea Power station is about to be engulfed by overly dense and over scale development that will destroy all views of the building bar the riverside view.

    Surely this building is a true architectural icon and should be treated as such.

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  • Blimey, he still can't stop coming up with ever more tenuous ways to claim it!

    He should just face the truth - it's Foster's and rightly, Norman's work will be remembered long after his has been forgotten - and move on before he turns completely sad.

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  • Trev -

    Shuttleworth designed it.

    Regards,
    The Real World

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  • No HE didn't, he was PART of the Foster's Team that designed it.

    His own (unsupported by The Foster Machine) design talent can be more clearly seen from what his own practice has come up with; each to his own, but I would say vastly inferior in each and every respect.

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