Gherkin: The View From Washington

By M@ Last edited 142 months ago
Gherkin: The View From Washington

Surely it’s not possible to dislike the gherkin? It’s that rare Lineker of buildings –distinctive profile, super-famous yet loved by all. Or so we thought...

Washington Post architecture critic Roger K Lewis isn’t the biggest fan. His latest column pours careful scorn on Foster’s masterpiece, calling it repetitive and intrusive.

He also opines that the gherkin ‘disregards its site’, which comprises ‘a tightly knit medieval fabric of narrow streets and small blocks’. Erm, did he not notice Lloyds, St Helen’s, and the Willis Building, all within about 100 m?

If you’re going to argue that the gherkin is too big and intrusive for its site, perhaps we oughta consider demolishing the pyramids and the Eiffel Tower too. Isn’t the whole joy of London’s architecture that it mixes buildings of all scales and styles in unplanned randomness? The views of the medieval St Helen’s Church, or St Andrew Undershaft are, in our humble opinion, augmented, not ruined, by the great shiny phallic tower rising behind them. Where better to compare the towers of old and new London in a single view?

Well, when it comes down to it, we don’t really know the first thing about architecture compared with Mr Lewis. So we certainly respect his view and acknowledge that not everyone is going to like things that are distinctive. But we thought we’d throw his viewpoint up on the site and see what readers think.

Do you hate the gherkin? If so, we want to know why, damn you.

Image from theladsweekend’s Flickr photostream.

Last Updated 24 July 2006


Sounds like jelousy to me..! The reporter obviously doesnt think that people who have actually been there will read the report, so he can basically say what he likes and as that will be most peoples first impression of the building he will likely enough have lots of people agreeing with him. Well, hopefuly not from those of us who HAVE been there...has he been?

Barry P.

Crystal Phallus takes a bit of getting used to. I spent a summer in London studying and by the time I left still hadn't quite come to grips with how contrasting it is compared to its surroundings.


Well, that told me!

Fair comment Barry, maybe im not so concerned with the rights and wrongs of buildings and arkitectshure and just dont get it, anyhow i personally think it looks like a giant dildo there to please the people.


Its distinctive shape is precisely what makes it work with its surroundings I think. I generally prefer rounded shapes so the Gherkin is great for me. I have had the priviledge of visiting it on its first opening for London's open house and went all the way to the top. The space upthere is beautiful too and what a view!. My only (big) problem with it, is that like seemingly most of Foster's other constructions, it wobbles! The structure of the floors is so light that you get midly sea sick just by standing there...

Looks great from outside though...


Love the gherkin, definitely. Especially the great space they've created around the base. Anyone else gone round reading all the inscriptions?

And don't forget how it came to be where it is.