St Mary Axe is an insignificant street named after a vanished church that is said to have contained an axe used by Attila the Hun to behead English virgins. It is now known for Lord Foster's 30 St Mary Axe, arguably London's finest contemporary building. The building is known as 'the Gherkin' (and, occasionally, more suggestive nicknames) for reasons that are obvious. On curved stone benches either side of 30 St Mary Axe are inscribed the 20 lines of Scottish poet Ian Hamilton Finlay's 'Arcadian Dream Garden', a curious counterpart to Lord Foster's popular tower. The building is closed to the public apart from very occasionally during events such as Open House London when it is, understandably, a red-hot ticket.
For Open House London 2014, the Gherkin will be open on Saturday September 20 and Sunday September 21, 8am-3pm. Make sure you bring photo ID and be prepared for high security, including bag and body scans. There may also be long queues but there will be an organised system in place allowing groups of 30 people to be admitted every ten minutes for a maximum of twenty minutes. Visitors will have access to the foyer and the top of the domed building.