Gherkin most recognised building nickname of the century

A recent poll has declared the 'Gherkin' as the most widely recognised nickname in the UK

The 'Gherkin' has been announced as the most successful building nickname in the UK for this century, according to a YouGov poll.

Steamrolling past the 'Cheese Grater' and the 'Walkie Talkie', results show over three times as many Britons (72%) recognise the Gherkin, also known as 30 St Mary Axe. The Cheese Grater, formally known as The Leadenhall Building, followed with 23% while the Walkie Talkie, officially named 20 Fenchurch Street, took third position (19%).

While 86% of Londoners recognised the Gherkin, that leaves 14% never having heard of the building -quite an alarming portion for a structure that is so unique in the skyline. Nonetheless the comparison shows that the Gherkin is the only UK new building - since 2000 - that is almost as identifiable nationally as it is locally.


The poll was conducted with 2,414 Britons on behalf of Swedish construction company, Skanska, which built the Gherkin. Managing director for Skanska's London and South East buildings, Paul Heather said:

'The Gherkin may be the most successful such nickname since Big Ben was completed in 1858. [It] is an icon not just of the London skyline but of modern Britain, if not of modern architecture itself.'

Nicknaming buildings is somewhat of an acceptance into the public and is now considered common protocol. Other familiar building nicknames around the world include:

'The Bird's Nest' - the Beijing National Stadium, China


'The Beehive' - the Executive Wing of a parliament building in Wellington, New Zealand


Image credit: 'The Beehive in June 2012' by Nick D

'The Big Pants', 'Big Underpants' with variations thereof, or 'Haemorrhoid' - Beijing's CCTV Headquarters, China.

From various angles this structure looks like a pair of trousers or underpants.


Image credit

'The Calabash' - the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

A nickname as well as part of the inspiration behind the building, Calabash is an African cooking pot and aptly replicates South Africa's 'melting pot' heat.


Image: Chris Gascoigne


Image: Chris Gascoigne

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