Southbank International School visit the Gherkin

Today I am welcoming 31 small guests to the top of the Gherkin. One of Swiss Re's Director's has asked me to speak to her daughter's class. The children, from The Southbank International School in Hampstead, are incredibly well behaved and very curious - they have been doing a project on architecture and come armed with lots of questions and think of more when they are at the top. They are a pleasure to talk to and their teachers tells me later they do very well in the Gherkin Quiz that I sent them back to school with. 

The children have lots of questions about the Gherkin.

The children have lots of questions about the Gherkin.

Photo op time!

Photo op time!

Gherkin Groundhog Day - September 5th 2013

Swiss Re often ask me to look after their VIP guests who visit the building and today I am giving a Gherkin Talk and Tour to 39 Norwegian architects from Lund + Slaatto Arkiteker. I have divided them into three groups of 13 and they have 75 minutes each, the second group beginning the moment the first one ends and so on. Luckily for them Swiss Re have invited them to visit the rarely seen interior of the building as well asking me to take them to the stunning top. They want more architectural depth than many people I take around and there are lots of questions while we are standing inside one of the light wells looking up through the building to the staggered floors above. We talk about the relationship between work and Foster + Partner’s design and enjoy viewing some of Swiss Re’s impressive art collection. Entering the dome at the top is a highlight as always and I answer more questions and tell more stories there. All goes well for the first two groups – it’s only when I get to number three that I begin to wonder quite what I have said to who! I give them a copy of The Gherkin Guide and they give me a book on Norwegian design. Later Lund + Slaatto’s Thomas Veiteberg Holan emails me to say the tours were ‘the buzz for the duration of our stay and people were mightily impressed’. Either I didn’t repeat myself or they are too polite to say. Phew!