Discarding a pineapple, embracing a gherkin
In your 'Who said what' column (AJ 21.10.04), Jonathan Jones is quoted from the Guardian of 18.10.04 as saying: 'Everyone talks about the 'gherkin' as if it were weird and unprecedented but it is not.
'Where other recent architecture has a lot in common with the extravagance of the Baroque, Foster has created a form that is manifestly in the Classical tradition. This is a shape that Wren would have recognised, admired and envied.' In fact, Wren used this shape in one of his discarded designs for an elongated pineapple to sit on the highest point of St Paul's Cathedral (pictured). It was directly above the central dome and I would guess that it would have been perhaps three or four metres in height.
The proportions of Wren's elongated pineapple are similar to the 'gherkin', the tapering shape is similar, and the modelling has a similar effect of creating parallel diagonal bands appearing to wrap themselves around the tapering form.
Richard Lyon, Richard Lyon and Associates, Cambridge