Sede de Swiss Re, Londres
Though faced with notable and formally agitated candidates such as the Kunsthaus of Peter Cook and Colin Fournier in Graz or the Imperial War Museum by Daniel Libeskind in Manchester, the skyscraper on 30 St Mary Axe, by Norman Foster, has finally won the prestigious prize that the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) awards annually in its main category. The shell-shaped building, which has become the symbol of London’s new prosperity, is the first skyscraper to go up in the City since 1979. Its circular plan, whose diameter oscillates between the 25 meters of the top and the 57 meters of floor 17, is traversed by six triangular atriums whose spiralling itinerary perforate the entire volume and appear on facade in the form of gray glazed bands. The tapered form of the volume helps to reduce the impact of wind on the facade, so reducing turbulence at the base. The London firm, which had another building among the candidates to the prize – Business Academy Bexley–, so receives recognition for its extensive work in the capital, which is becoming the main site for its projects.