Fosters Snarks at Ken Shuttleworth over who designed the Gherkin

Just who is responsible for a design these days, the person they drew the tracing paper sketch, the project architect, the lead on the scheme?

In any event it seems that Fosters is very narked at suggestions that he designed the Gherkin.

In the same way KIen used to get very narked at Norman earlier taking credit for it.

BD online comments

Key figures involved in the creation of 30 St Mary Axe – the Gherkin – have hit out at Ken Shuttleworth following repeated claims in the national press that he designed the landmark tower.

Shuttleworth, who founded Make after his acrimonious departure from Foster & Partners in 2003, was described in last Sunday’s Observer as “the creator” of the building following similar recent descriptions in the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Evening Standard and the BBC website.

But the Observer’s failure to even mention Foster’s appeared to be the last straw for members of the team who delivered the Stirling Prize-winning scheme and who insist it was a team effort.

Many also objected to Shuttleworth’s comment in Building magazine last month in which he questioned its extensive use of glass and asked “why on earth did we do that?”

Former Foster’s director Robin Partington – who led the design team – flatly denied that Shuttleworth was the project’s designer, adding that he and Foster’s had previously remained silent for fear of stoking controversy.

“With a building like that you can never ever claim that one person was responsible for it,” he said. “It genuinely came out of Foster’s and I don’t think any other practice could have done it.

“For one person to claim ownership is not recognising what our profession does but this has been going on for years and years.

“I had a team of 15-20 people working on [the design] and they all deserve the credit.”

Partington was backed by client Swiss Re’s two successive project directors, Carla Picardi and Sara Fox, and by Richard Griffiths, whose firm RWG Associates acted as project manager on the tower.

“Time and wishful thinking have a habit of distorting the facts,” Griffiths said. “Ken did a sketch on a piece of tracing paper: the building was created by a team of very talented people employed by Foster & Partners, including Norman, engineers, construction people and, God forbid, cost consultants.”

Shuttleworth said he was mystified by the row, which he admitted has been simmering for almost a decade. “I’ve never said [I was the author], I just let it happen,” he said. “I was on the main board at Foster’s and I was the guy looking after the Gherkin.

“At the end of the day, I worked for Norman Foster. It was his office and he is the author of all these projects.”

A spokeswoman for Foster & Partners said it had written letters of correction on the issue.

In 2004 after Ken left to form Make he had him Photoshopped to the back of the crowd in a book of Fosters work.

But claiming credit for a building you did just a quick sketch for is par for the course with architects.  Phillip Johnson did it all the time.  Im with Laura Roberts on this one

I’m not one to applaud Shuttleworth at the moment with Make trying what seems to be on a monthly basis to spread a plague of their vile designs across London and the planning authorities seeming to want to roll over with a “yes, kill us please” mentality…. but if what Shuttleworth drew on that piece of tracing paper was a pointy round thing in the shape of gherkin, and all subsequent design evolutions and workings were based on his vision, and he was in charge of the project at Fosters, then I’ve got no problem with him being called the “creator” of it.

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