« Funnel spoons | Home | God must have a plan for Lana Hudspeth »

April 26, 2005

Gherkin loses a window — 'The sky IS falling!'


If by chance you'd happened to be standing in the plaza below Lord Norman Foster's landmark skyscraper (below) at 30 St. Mary Axe, nicknamed "The Gherkin," last week, Monday April 18, at 12:30 a.m. (London time) and looked up at just the right instant, that's precisely what you'd have screamed before a giant glass window panel, which had somehow worked loose from its 28th-floor frame, plunged at speed 590 feet (180 meters) to the ground and disintegrated.

The lost panel's old home is pictured above.

Fortunately no one was hurt but the plaza below the building is now cordoned off as rigorous checks of the 743 similar triangular glass panels that remain — for the time being, at least — in place are underway.


The window that fell was in the open position at the time it fell; the remaining windows are now being locked in the closed position until the problem that led to the unexpected descent is diagnosed and remedied.

A slab of wood has been placed over the hole in the building's skin (top).

The building's windows, of which the fallen panel was one, open and close in response to sophisticated computer controls in response to readings of wind speed, sunlight and temperature from the building's own weather station.


Scaffolding and a covered walkway has been provided for staff working in the building.

No word yet on whether helmets will be made available or required.


This is not the first time one of Lord Norman's creations has had functional difficulties: his Millenium Bridge across the Thames from St. Paul's Cathedral to the Tate Modern became known as "The Wobbly Bridge" soon after its opening in June 2000.

The first crowds caused it to sway in an unacceptable fashion and it was closed immediately for repairs, which cost $10 million and took 20 months, with the reopening taking place in February 2002.

So far so good since with the bridge.

What I want to know is, how is it that the news about the Gherkin is only beginning to trickle out yesterday and today?

A week of silence?

Not likely in the U.S.


I guess circling the wagons is more old school, what?

April 26, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Gherkin loses a window — 'The sky IS falling!':


The comments to this entry are closed.