London loves to give its skyscrapers nicknames, and one of the newest has been christened the ‘Can of Ham’. Its actual name is 70 St Mary Axe, and even that street has an interesting derivation.
The Can of Ham has been designed by Foggo Associates, whose distinctive work can also be seen above Cannon Street Station and along Queen Victoria Street. Their latest construction has been designed in response to local views and comprises 24 floors and 28,000 square metres of office space. Its unique design could be said to incorporate just 3 facades and no roof; instead, curved glass and anodised aluminium wrap around the building - almost like a tin (of ham).
With ecological matters at the forefront the Can can boast some very green credentials, with borehole thermal energy and vertical shading fins added to the sides to make the most of the sun. Workers are encouraged to cycle in, and 328 bicycle spaces, 360 lockers and 32 showers have been provided. At present you can gain access to the foyer - and it’s well worth doing so. The polite security guards even give you a booklet all about Foggo.
Sidley Austin, a US-based law firm have moved in. It is hoped the public will be able to get to the gallery terrace on the 21st floor, as the Corporation is keen for new builds to have some open access.
As for the name of St Mary Axe? It comes from the church of St Mary Axe - or to give its full name: St Mary the Virgin and St Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins - which no longer exists.
The church is said to have possessed one of the three axes with which the maidens were beheaded by Attila the Hun. The church was suppressed in the 1560s and all that’s left is a commemorative plaque.