30 St Mary's Axe, London

Stirling Prize Winner 30 St Mary's Axe features an SAS Internatioanl monolithic non-directional ceiling incorporating all the air terminal supply devices.

Key features




Swiss Re/ Various Tenants


Foster & Partners

Main contractor




Completion year


System type

SAS150, SAS330

Special requirements

Circular building with tapering profiles

Area M2



United Kingdom

Product Groups

The most recognisable building on the London skyline and one of the most talked about buildings in the world, “30 St Mary Axe” is a Stirling prize winner.

Commissioned by Swiss Re and designed by Foster and Partners the building was nicknamed the ‘Gherkin’ because of its unusual shape.

The building is on the former site of the Baltic Exchange building which was badly damaged by an IRA bomb in 1992. Although planners wanted much of the original building retained damage was too extensive. Due to the development of Canary Wharf the city decided a higher, modern, architecturally significant building would be more appropriate.

At 180m (590 ft), Forty one floors and 76,400 m2 of space it is the 6th tallest building in London and accommodates offices, shops and spacious public plaza. Due to the circular and tapering shape with triangular atriums throughout the footprint of each floor is different.

SAS worked with Foster & Partners, Bennett Interior Design, Hoare Lee (M&E) and Sandy Brown (Acoustic engineers) for twelve months on the radial design of the metal ceiling system. The design team wanted a monolithic non-directional ceiling incorporating all the air terminal supply devices.

Acoustic correction in the space is achieved by micro perforations of hole size 0.6mm (exceptionally small perforations) thus contributing to the overall monolithic appearance of the ceiling plane.

Ceiling tiles are designed to be exactly the same size, being interchangeable for tenant’s flexibility in the rearrangement of partitioning and lighting layouts.

The upper floors being without atrium breaks, a continuous circular space has allowed SAS to provide an interesting geometric solution (non-directional ceiling) sympathetic to tenant space optimisation.

Completed in 2004 the building was voted the most admired new building in the world, in a survey of the world’s largest firms of architects, as published in 2006 BD World Architecture 200.

Systems used