Sky delight

No. 30 St Mary Axe, popularly known as "the gherkin", is that all too rare phenomenon: a work of modern British architecture that has been applauded by amateurs and professionals alike. The recipient of this year's Riba Stirling Prize, it was the unanimous choice of the judges - the first time in the award's nine-year history there has been no disagreement. Almost uniquely for a new building in London, Norman Foster's "gherkin" has elegance, colour and character; it became a well loved landmark even before it was complete. That all this makes it unusual, however, is a damning indictment of so much of the capital's new building. Give us more "gherkins", and we will soon embrace, rather than recoil from, the new.

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