Video smoke detection protects London's newest building.(Building Fire Protection)

From any point of view the new headquarters for Swiss Re's UK operations at 30 St Mary Axe in the City of London is a remarkable building. Rising to 180m the 40-storey building, thrusting skywards, strikes a dramatic pose in the heart of the City and reflects the vibrancy of one of the world's great commercial centres.

Revolutionary in shape and function, 30 St Mary Axe incorporates many advanced methods of planning, design and construction. One unique design feature is the six lightwells on every floor spiralling at five-degree angles from the floor above down the building.

Created by offset, triangular cut out areas at the outer perimeter of the floors, the lightwells are intersected by transverse, major structural floor plates in series of between two and six storeys throughout the height of the building. …

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