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30 St Mary Axe The Gherkin

The Gherkin London

Designed by Norman Foster, The Gherkin comprises 5,500 flat triangular and diamond shaped glass panels which vary in size at every level. Now an iconic building, it benefits from a bespoke façade access system designed and installed by SAEMA member, Integral Cradles’ former group company SCX.

This unique solution features the innovative use of ‘moving technology’ which includes conductor bar transfers, track transfers and sophisticated control systems. It includes a lifting table and hydraulic arm installed below the restaurant floor on level 40, three suspended trolleys and platforms, and a rescue trolley hidden away in a garage on level 36 – emerging only when required and navigating the circumference of the building on an exterior track.

Following the success of the initial system, a subsequent contract for the design, supply and installation of a glass replacement unit was placed. Critically, this interfaces with the permanent access cradles to negotiate the building’s 160m high ’torpedo’ shape. It hugs the profile whilst using vacuum technology to remove and then install 400g glass panels.

Comments Kevin Walton of Integral Cradles:

“This was a complex, high profile project that reflects the considerable engineering experience and expertise of SAEMA member organisations.”

SAEMA member

Integral Cradles Ltd, Gatwick Airport

Equipment supplied

Façade access system based on ‘moving technology’


Kevin Walton

Tel: 0845 0742758
Fax: 0871 6615787

The Beehive Building
Beehive Ring Road
Gatwick Airport
West Sussex