London's 224-meter-tall "Cheesegrater" building has climbed into the city's skyline over the past months, quickly becoming a new landmark in a city with quirky building names.
Placed in cold storage for several years during the global economic downturn, the Cheesegrater is again on the move. Topped out on June 18, the building joins a growing cluster of eccentrically shaped skyscrapers, including the decade-old "Gherkin" and the still-emerging "Walkie Talkie."
No one knows whose irreverent wit first named Norman Foster's 180-m-tall, bullet-shaped building at 30 St. Mary Axe "the Gherkin," but the name stuck and a tradition was born.
Peter Wynne Rees, the chief planning official at the City of London Corporation, the borough where the cluster stands, claims the "Cheesegrater" label for the building on Leadenhall Street. However, he takes no responsibility for naming the 160-m-tall building at nearby Fenchurch St. "the Walkie Talkie."
Not Just a Funny Name
The Cheesegrater and Walkie Talkie are on course for completion early next year, but the two buildings have little else in common.
The Walkie Talkie uses a conventional structure to achieve its unusually curved profile that widens toward the top. An important design goal has been to accommodate the variable geometry within a basically regular structural grid, says Jason Gunaratne, the global director for buildings in the London office of CH2M Hill Inc., the building's Denver-based structural engineer.
With its backward-leaning front, visible mega-frame and rear-fixed core fixed, the Cheesegrater is a structural feat.
"The structure you see is the real structure," says Andy Young, an associate partner with project architect Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, London. Arup Group Ltd. is handling structural design.
Days before the building's topping out, Chris Webb, head of development at co-developer British Land, London, told delegates at this year's international conference of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat that the building "had to be technically world-class."