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30 St Mary Axe

30 St Mary Axe is a building in the City of London, London, United Kingdom. The site of the building was until 1992 the location of the Baltic Exchange building. On April 10, 1992 the IRA detonated a bomb close to the Exchange, almost completely destroying it and severely damaging buildings close by.

Work in progress on the Swiss Re "Gherkin"

Following the detonation of the IRA bomb, English Heritage and the Corporation of London insisted that any redevelopment on the site must restore the building's facade onto St Mary Axe and the highly decorated Exchange Hall (formerly the trading floor of the exchange). The Baltic Exchange was unable meet the financial requirements of such a development and the site was sold to Trafalgar House in 1995. Most of the remaining structures on the site were then carefully dismantled whilst the interior of Exchange Hall and the facade were preserved and sealed from the elements. Later assessment by English Heritage determined that the damage was far more severe than had previously been thought, and they dropped their insistence on restoration; a decision that led to much controversy.

On August 23, 2000, the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, granted planning permission to build a much larger building on the site.

The new building due to be completed in 2004 was designed by Norman Foster Architects. Due to its unusual cone-like shape, designed so that wind will pass easily around the building, it has been variously nicknamed 'the Gherkin', 'the Erotic Gherkin' and 'the Towering Innuendo'. The primary occupant of the building on completion will be Swiss Re reinsurers.

See also: Tall buildings in London

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