Sometimes, an architect’s vision can be misconstrued and their buildings get stuck with nicknames they’ll never shake. Is it just me that relishes in these moments? All the hard work, expense and planning, for your building to be known as ‘The Gherkin’.

These buildings may look unfortunately like banal objects of everyday life, but their nicknames mean that they’ll live on forever. We decided to get creative and make up these illustrated postcards for Aspire Doors, that take these nicknames quite literally…


Let us know what you think!

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The Stedelijk Museum

Getting a nickname for your building isn’t always a bad thing. Take the Shard, for example. Formerly known as the London Bridge Tower, its nickname gave it an enigmatic edge and eventually became its official name. If your building is known as ‘the Bathtub’, then you messed up. Seriously though, it doesn’t look like anything other than a giant bath. It looks more like a bathtub than actual bathtubs.

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Simmons Hall

If you were constantly complaining about your halls of residence at university, the ugly façades, the cramped bedrooms, the brown carpet, you went to the wrong university. This stunning halls of residence at MIT, Simmons Hall, has been likened by many to a giant sponge. Its many thousands of small windows contribute to this effect. This seems like overkill for a hall of residence, but it does look amazing.

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The SECC Complex

This building is actually the result of interspecies breeding between the armadillo and the Sydney Opera House. Okay, I may have embellished but you’d think, that at any point during its conception and construction, that someone would’ve said something. Well, they didn’t, and now Scotland has a giant thirty-million-pound armadillo to show for it.

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The Leadenhall Building

Clocking in at an eye-watering £286 million, this is the most expensive cheesegrater you’ve ever seen. The Leadenhall Building in London is over 200 metres tall and has 48 floors. Construction was completed in 2013, and London’s propensity to construct buildings that don’t look like buildings continues.

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The Swiss Re Tower

The Gherkin is one of the most famous buildings in the UK. Having said that, we doubt that anyone would be able to tell you its real name. We would estimate that if you asked 100 Brits if they know the Swiss Re Tower, 99 of them would say no. And the other one was just lying. Ask those same people if they know of the Gherkin and they’ll all say yes. Does anyone know what happens there? The only thing we do know is that Alan Sugar’s boardroom is on the top floor, and definitely not in Essex.

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The AT&T Building, Nashville

American phone giants, AT&T, commissioned the building of this giant skyscraper in the 90s. ‘Make it the tallest building in all of Tennessee’, they said. ‘Build a three-storey garden and enclose it in glass’, they said. ‘Make sure it looks like Batman’, they said. Okay, they only said two of these things but all three are true. With 33 storeys and a cost of over seventy million dollars, construction was completed in 1994. We think it looks more like a super-villain headquarters. What do you think?

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The Executive Wing of New Zealand’s Parliament

The Beehive in Wellington, New Zealand is one of the few aesthetically pleasing buildings of the 1970s. It seems like a fitting nickname now New Zealand has a female Prime Minister. Queen bee Jacinda Ahern’s offices are on the ninth floor. In all fairness, this one probably earned its nickname out of convenience rather than derision. The Beehive is far easier to say than ‘The Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliamentary Buildings’, after all.

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