Yesterday afternoon I had time to kill so I headed out from Liverpool Street, and turning my back on Brick Lane and the Finerati, I found myself in the Square Mile. Before you know it, the newest and most glorious addition to Norman Foster’s London is looming over you. The Swiss Re building at 30 St Mary’s Axe is gorgeous. I’ve watched it grow from many points around the city for months now, but this was my first look up close. So I dodged through suits and alleyways to get right up to it, and it’ as good up close as from a distance. I’ve always loved corporate architecture anyway – it’s my exotic – but this is a masterpiece. Right down to the details (the cloisters between zig-zag glass shards at the building’s base), everything about it seems contained within the logic of a single gesture. Gherkin, zeppelin, the cock to City Hall’s bollock? No – it’s a fat cat cigar, stubbed out in a giant ashtray, one mile square, transformed into an object of real beauty.


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