London - 20 June 2003 - The only piece of curved glass in Swiss Re's landmark 30 St Mary Axe headquarters was successfully installed at the apex of the 180-metre building today.
The lens-shaped piece of glass was lifted into place from ground level and placed in position with the assistance of abseilers.
Measuring 2.4 metres in diameter and weighing 250 kgs, the lens is the topmost element of the 24,000 m2 of glass cladding in the distinctive spherical building.
Of the total 5760 glass panels in the building, the only elements still to be installed are those which were left out to provide temporary access for the construction equipment and operatives .
For Skanska UK , shell and core main contractor, director Gary Clifford says:
'The installation of the lens today marks a significant milestone for Skanska. To handle the sheer complexity of this unusual building we have been using highly sophisticated surveying techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to ensure that all 40 storeys of the diagrid steel and glass were built exactly as designed. The positioning of this lens means we have achieved this in just 133 weeks after commencing construction. We are on track to hand over the completed structure on schedule in the autumn.'
Swiss Re will start its phased relocation in parallel with the fitout completion, at the end of the year, with its staff occupying floors 2-15 of the 40-storey building by April 2004.