Introduction to 30 St. Mary Axe

30 St. Mary Axe is a 40-story skyscraper in the heart of London's main financial district. It was designed in the late 1990's by renowned architect Norman Foster of Foster + Partners. This building is an icon, in part to the fact that it was on the leading edge of parametric design. BIM was not around when this building was designed so the execution of this project is especially impressive. The building's most recognizable characteristic, it's massive curtain wall, is made of a repeating rhomboidal pattern which compliments it's rhomboidal structural diagrid. This diagrid is a unique structural system that resists both vertical and lateral loads. This exterior diagrid also allows for a very open floor plan free of columns. The building's floors are shaped like an asterisk, with six triangular cut-outs on the edge of each floor plate. These cut-outs act as "chimneys" in the building's interior which allows for natural ventilation to occur, saving in energy costs. These cut-outs follow the darker, spiraling glass all the way up the building, rotating at 5 degrees per floor. This building is not only ahead of its time in its parametric design, but also in its sustainability. The building's facade and natural ventilation geometry were designed with energy consumption in mind, allowing the building to consume about half the energy that a similar building otherwise would

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